Swiss scientists, for example, ran into trouble when a referendum aimed at restricting the free movement of migrants from Croatia led to the country being excluded from the Horizon 2020 programme. (The special bundling-together agreement under which Switzerland pays for individual scientists to participate in the program works as a temporary solution until February 2017.) .
Ahead of the referendum, London-based consultancy Digital Science estimated that the UK could lose £1 billion in research funding annually if the government did not make up the amount resulting from lost EU payments.
The researchers are already calling on the UK to continue funding research and to welcome scientists from around the world. “Any failure to continue to ensure the free flow of people and ideas between the UK and the international community, including Europe, could be detrimental to British science,” said Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Nobel Prize laureate and President of the Royal Society of London. Julia Goodfellow, president of Universities UK, the governing body for British universities that has been campaigning against Brexit, adds that the body’s “top priority” will now be to convince the government that EU staff and students are allowed to continue studying in the country.
Brexit “creates opportunities for science,” Martin says. For example, through a possible increase in research funding or the abolition of EU regulations, which in the eyes of some tend to discourage research. In addition, controlling the immigration of poorly educated workers could leave more room for the immigration of qualified professionals such as scientists. “Researchers now need to push to make these changes happen,” Martin said.
“Important decision. Let’s make it work,” Jo Johnson, the science minister, an opponent of Brexit and the brother of a prominent backer of Boris Johnson’s Leave campaign, tweeted Thursday morning.
This text is originally under the heading Researchers reel as UK votes to leave the European Union Published by Nature magazine.
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