At the heart of the Brexit debate

SRUK took part of the Brexit Science and Innovation Summit, organised by the Science and Technology Committee (S&TC) and held in London on the 22nd February. This Summit was the round up event of an inquiry launched by the S&TC with the aim to identify actions needed now to mitigate risks and make the most of the opportunities for UK science, research and innovation after Brexit. Before the Summit, the Committee had gathered over 80 written evidence from different institutes, learned societies and the general public. SRUK also contributed a report to this evidence gathering exercise.

SRUK Brexit Surveys

In the written evidence submitted by SRUK, we summarised the results of the surveys on the impact of Brexit in our members. In addition, we included results from the survey ran among the attendees to the CienciaUK event back in November 2017 in Madrid. The main results of the surveys that we wanted to highlight in the event are:

  1. There is an urgent need to swiftly safeguarding and reassuring the rights and status of European scientists working in the UK
  2. SRUK members are specially concerned about access to European funding, level of bureaucracy, residency right for researchers and dependants, and the overall British economy.
  3. There is a stark decline in the attractiveness of the UK to Spanish researchers.

The Summit

A total of 51 attendees, which included the Minister for Universities, Science, Research & Innovation Sam Gyimah, other MPs and representatives of learned Societies and groups of influence, debated for over three and a half hours about the different challenges that the scientific community face due to Brexit. SRUK was invited to attend the summit and contribute to the debate and president Dr. Estrella Luna Diez, attended the debate and represented our membership.

During the first panel, in which we discussed the status of European citizens in a post-Brexit UK, we joined UCL, CASE and other institutions in demanding the Government a clearer and more straightforward communication strategy with the scientific community. For example, it was made clear that it is urgent to obtain clarification on the agreements that drive Science and Innovation, the Settled Status and remove student caps. During the second panel that focused on the funding landscape post-Brexit, it was highlighted the importance of being not only beneficiary but also decisive part in the shaping of future European Framework FP9.

The results of the written evidence and the conclusions from the Summit will be presented to Government at the start of phase-II of the Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The complete video of the Summit has been made available. You can see SRUK’s intervention at minute 1:18.

We would like to thank all of you that filled the Brexit Survey 2016 and 2017 and shared your experiences in the Brexit Case Studies. If there is something else you would like to share with us, please fill the Case Studies or just  contact us at sciencepolicy@sruk.org.uk.

Want to know more about what is the Science Policy Committee up to? Read more

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