UK science has benefited greatly from our membership of the European Union.

The ease of moving across country borders has improved collaboration, while EU students coming to study in the UK contribute to our economy and our soft power abroad.

Membership of the European Research Council, and Framework Programmes for supporting research, have contributed significant sums to UK research projects. UK researchers have received €8.8bn, while the UK contributed €5.4bn to the EU science budget, over the period 2007-13. This was provided by Framework Programme 7, the EU’s excellence-led research funding scheme. The current Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, has a larger budget and will eventually allocate over £70bn across the continent.

The UK’s decision to leave the EU presents one of the biggest transformative events for this country in recent decades. No sector will be unaffected. The science and innovation community was more united than most in spelling out the difficulties that may emerge as a result of Brexit.

We have surveyed our Members and the results paint a clear picture of the priorities and fears of the physiology community over the outcomes of Brexit.

Key points which were apparent include:

  • The most important issue of the campaign was movement of people (34%)
  • 61% of respondents think their research funding will be reduced
  • Free movement for scientists and students (42% combined) is seen as a bigger key goal than EU funding access (33%)
  • Of those respondents whose opinion on the outlook for science after Brexit has changed since the result, 78% think it has got worse.

The full conclusions of the survey have been collated into an infographic, and are discussed in a blog post.

For more information, please read our report ‘UK Science: Are we open for business?’

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