The Education Minister has today called on the UK government to confirm that 2016 Referendum promises on replacing EU funding are honoured and control over investment will remain in Wales following any departure from the EU.
Speaking at an event in Cardiff to mark 7 years of Sêr Cymru, Kirsty Williams also announced a £7.5 million investment for the next phase of the scientific research programme.
Since 2014, almost £350 million of EU funds has been invested in Research and Innovation in Wales, 20% of Wales’ overall EU structural funds allocation.
The new funding for Sêr Cymru will offer Industrial Fellowships to strengthen the links between academics and industry, and Accelerator Awards which includes capital funding to purchase equipment and increase capacity.
Sêr Cymru has supported more than 340 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in Wales, from 29 countries, with a total investment of £100 million. The programme a partnership between the Welsh Government, HEFCW, Welsh universities and the European Commission.
The minister said:
Our research and innovation base is a national asset. We need to keep our highly-skilled scientists here in Wales, while continuing to attract the brightest academic talent from around the world.
Being part of the EU has played a huge role in the UK becoming a global scientific powerhouse, but Brexit puts that success at risk. If we leave without a deal, it will impact on scientific research immediately and it could take years to rebuild these relationships.
Structural Funds have been vital to the growth of science in Wales so I am again calling on the UK government to confirm they will honour those Referendum promises and ensure Wales is not a penny worse off if we leave the EU.
Furthermore, as part of any new relationship with Europe it’s also crucial that people, businesses and universities in Wales can continue to access international research and educational programmes like Horizon Europe and Erasmus Plus.