Three Presidents unite on Brexit

05 July 2018

Venki Ramakrishnan, Paul Nurse and Martin Rees have written to the Times to warn politicians that ‘trashing relationships with the EU and member states will jeopardise global scientific progress’. 

The letter calls on all sides in the negotiations to put people before ideology and deliver the win-win deal for science that everyone recognises is possible.

The full text of the letter is:


Both the UK and the EU sides in the Brexit negotiations have recognised the importance of a deal for science that allows the closest continued cooperation and mobility.  It is clearly seen as a win-win for all, as it is crucial to everyone’s long-term health, wealth, and quality of life.  Europe was the home of the Enlightenment and the birth of modern science.  The recent decades of close cooperation reversed an earlier period of decline in comparison with the USA and have made Europe a global scientific powerhouse again.

But there is a real fear that one side or the other might try to use this common good as a bargaining chip in negotiations.  At Chequers this week, our politicians must not let ideology come before the long- term interests of the people.  Trashing relationships with the EU and with EU member states will jeopardise global scientific progress, damaging innovation and the economy, the NHS and the Nation’s health, and the overall future of the UK.

Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society; Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society (2010-2015); Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society (2005-2010).

Find out more about the Royal Society's work on Brexit and UK science.