Brexit and UK science – the long and the short term
18 August 2016 by Eleanor Beal, Senior Policy Adviser
The role of the EU in UK scienceBefore the referendum, the Society took a close look at the role of the EU in UK research, publishing three reports on funding, research collaboration and researcher mobility, and regulation and policy. As a Member State, the UK does remarkably well out of European research funding and our universities have become increasingly reliant on it. From 2007-2013 the UK received £8.8 billion in direct EU funding for research, development and innovation activities. European researchers are among our top collaborative partners and European regulations govern many areas of science in the UK.
Following the UK’s vote to leave, it is not clear what role the EU will play in the future research landscape. This could pose a challenge to maintaining the UK’s excellence in science. The Society has called for the UK to retain the maximum possible involvement in EU-funded research programmes. However the process of negotiations that might get us to this outcome looks likely to be long and complex. In the meantime there are some concerns that should be addressed more urgently, to limit any potential damage to UK science from a prolonged period of uncertainty.