What is the Minister's assessment of the economic impact to Wales of the UK's exclusion from the EU Horizon scheme from 2021 to 2023?
The exclusion of the UK from Horizon Europe has been avoidable and damaging.
While it is not straightforward to quantify the impact of exclusion from the programme as various factors influence participation, we can draw a comparison between the first 2.5 years of Horizon Europe and its predecessor, Horizon 2020. In the opening 2.5 years of Horizon 2020, Wales signed grants of €46m whereas in the first 2.5 years of Horizon Europe, Wales has received offers of £25.7m (through the UK Guarantee).
In Wales, the Horizon Europe situation has also been compounded by the inadequate UK replacement scheme for European Structural Funds, which has significantly undermined the research sector and its capacity.
It is worth noting that the impact of the EU Referendum on UK performance appears to have started before 2021, as outlined in the Welsh Horizon 2020 report.
If the UK had kept up with Germany between 2016 and June 2023, the research sector in Wales might have received around £77 million over this period (assuming 2% of the €4.3 billion gap between the UK and Germany, including the guarantee). This figure aligns with Royal Society analysis in 2019 that estimated a loss of half a billion pounds a year.
In considering the economic impact, we should also note that our participation in Horizon 2020 gave Welsh organisations over 8,000 collaborative links with partners from 87 countries around the world.