1191 days ago 17,4 million British citizens decided to leave the EU. The deadline for a Brexit deal on october 31 is coming closer. Yet on all sorts of domains it is uncertain what the effects of a Brexit will be, including research and innovation in the UK.
The EU framework makes it easy for the UK to attract skilled scientists from all over the EU, get acces to EU funding and networks and maintain regulatory alignment that brings acces to new medicines and technologies. Professor Scott Willams working at the department of political science and international studies said the following about this;
The EU is very important for cooperation within the scientific field in Europe. It makes it easier for researchers from all over the EU to work together because they can freely travel and work all over the EU. The EU-framework also provides funding and networks that enable the UK and other countries to make great contributions to science that will benefit the UK and the rest of the world. – Scott Williams Birmingham University
Horizon 2020 is the EU’s funding program for research and innovation. With a budget of 70 billion euro to spend on projects it’s the biggest organization of it’s kind in the whole world. When a no-deal Brexit happens the UK will no longer have acces to the network and funding that the Horizon 2020 project have to offer.
The majority of UK scientists are worried about the impact that a no-deal Brexit could have on the UK scientific field. A poll taken by scientific journal Nature shows that more than 90 percent of UK-scientist are in favor of staying in the EU for the sake of science besides other factors.
They fear a Brexit will impact the global position of the UK as a big player in research an innovation. Known physicist Stephen Hawkings said in a letter to the times;
‘If the UK leaves the EU it will be a disaster for UK science and universities. We need collaboration now more than ever and Brexit a may isolate the UK from the rest of the European scientific field’ – Stephen Hawking
A no-deal Brexit without any agreements on cooperation between the UK and the rest of Europe may cause a lot of challenges for the scientific community within Europe. The UK will lose it’s most of it’s acces to EU-funding and networks. It will also make it harder to attract scientific specialists from all over Europe.
There is still a change that the UK government will present a deal towards the EU that includes agreements on cooperation within research, innovation and education. Such agreements would benefit the future of the scientific field in the UK. The scientific field is however prepared to handle challenges offered by the scenario of a no deal Brexit.
‘Even when the scientific community will have to face challenges due to a no-deal Brexit we have to work to continue cooperation with researchers from all over Europe. It may be harder to ensure this outside the formal EU-framework but is extremely important to the UK and the rest of the world for the UK to stay relevant within the international scientific community’. – Scott Williams, Birmingham University