Brexit threat to research and innovation

18 July 2019

The President of the Royal Society has warned Conservative leadership candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt of the dangers of a no-deal Brexit for science.

Venki Ramakrishnan has written to Johnson and Hunt saying:

“Little consideration is being given to the actual, real world impacts of a no-deal Brexit on research and innovation. In the interests of a long term vision of a prosperous, outward facing future for the UK, it is time to rule out this eventuality for good.”

The Royal Society has also published a new analysis of visa costs, which shows the UK to be prohibitively expensive compared to other leading scientific nations competing to recruit the best international talent. The upfront cost of a visa for a researcher to come and work in the UK is over £8,000, which compares to an average £1,500 for other leading scientific nations. The UK costs go up to £12,000 if the researcher wants to bring a partner and higher again if they have children.

The dangers of Brexit include:

  • the threat to the UK’s ability to recruit the best talent from overseas
  • the loss of EU funding for research in our universities and in businesses
  • seeing NHS patients in the UK lose out on access to cutting edge therapies as trials leave the UK out because we are not aligned on regulation