In a briefing note addressing the consequences of the “prolonged period of uncertainty” in the three months since the EU referendum vote on June 23, the Academy and Campaign make recommendations about immediate steps the government should take to support UK science and ensure the “long-term health of research is kept to the fore” during the Brexit negotiation process.
Dr Ashley Lenihan, Senior Policy Advisor at the Academy and Campaign, recognised the importance of addressing funding uncertainty, but noted that there are also broader issues at play.
“These recommendations are about more than research funding, but go to the heart of issues such as EU staff and student visas, and EU student loan eligibility, which are already affecting the Higher Education and Research communities”, she said.
The recommendations include:
- The government should ensure the participation in the negotiations of a representative of the UK higher education and science community. Additionally, The Academy and Campaign would welcome the inclusion of a proposed Deputy Director for Research Innovation and Higher Education within the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU), “as it is unclear where the issue lies in the current organisation” of the department.
- The government should explicitly state its appreciation of the importance of research funding, collaborations, staff and students for UK science and universities, and for UK economic growth and well-being.
- The UK is a net beneficiary of EU funds, receiving an estimated €3.4 billion more than it paid into the EU in terms of funding for research, development and innovation activities between 2007 and 2013. The government should announce that it will protect and replace EU funds for research after Horizon 2020.
- The Department for Education and BEIS should collate evidence of cases from universities where collaborations have been put at risk in the shadow of Brexit, and actively raise them with the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. The Minister for Universities and Science should also ensure the compilation of real-time statistics about applications for EU funding from UK applications, so that any post-Brexit decline can be acted upon.
- The government should recognise the importance of EU and other international staff in UK universities and the research sector, and develop appropriate visa policies for UK universities and research should that be necessary.
Read the full briefing note here.
Read the press release.