Gordon Brown to launch drive to support science jobs and research

Former prime minister Gordon Brown is to launch a campaign to support science jobs and research as part of the Covid-19 economic recovery programme.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on Friday, Mr Brown will call on MPs, city region and local mayors, local authorities, unions and businesses to support staying inside Horizon, the European research and science programme that pioneers new medical, environmental and hi-tech research.

The former prime minister said he wants to bring fresh political momentum to maintaining current UK-based Horizon jobs and creating future ones, which is especially important to the UK’s university towns.

Mr Brown said: “The Covid-related jobs crisis means maintaining and creating new jobs, and is the biggest economic challenge we face across the UK in the next few months.

“People across Britain have a pragmatic understanding that the big economic issue now facing us is about solving the jobs crisis.

“It’s about whether you are for full employment across our regions and nations, not whether you are for or against Europe.

“The science and jobs benefit of Horizon membership to our universities and to high-quality ancillary companies will be vital to our four-nation Covid economic recovery plan.”

Mr Brown will be joined on the virtual stage in Edinburgh by European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, who leads on Europe’s Green New Deal.

He is expected to confirm the willingness on the part of EU institutions to continue scientific research and development in collaboration with Britain’s universities.