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Europe may bar neighbors from key research

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Science  19 Mar 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6535, pp. 1194
DOI: 10.1126/science.371.6535.1194

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Summary

In a sign of growing national tensions over the control of strategic research, the European Commission is trying to block countries outside the European Union from participating in quantum computing and space projects under Horizon Europe, its new research funding program. The proposed grant rules, which must still be approved by delegates from the 27 EU member states in the coming weeks, would shut out researchers in countries accustomed to full access to European research programs, including Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Israel. European Economic Area countries Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland would be barred from space research projects while remaining eligible for quantum computing grants. Research advocates see the proposed restrictions as self-defeating for all parties, including the European Union. The unexpected news has also upset some leaders of international collaborations and left them scrambling to find out whether they will need to exclude partners—or even drop out themselves—if they want their projects to be eligible for further funding.

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