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Brexit and UK science

The UK has decided to leave the EU. The decisions made now – during the post referendum negotiations and beyond – will determine the future trajectory of the UK and the people that live here.

The Royal Society has produced evidence about the relationship between UK research and the European Union to inform these decisions. We are engaging with policymakers and partners in the UK and internationally to ensure that the implications and opportunities for research and innovation are considered throughout the process.

The UK government has stated its ambition to: “agree a far-reaching science and innovation agreement with the EU that establishes a framework for future collaboration” and the Prime Minister has stated that “The United Kingdom would like the option to fully associate ourselves with the excellence-based European science and innovation programmes”

Science is a fundamentally collaborative and global enterprise and therefore the UK should seek arrangements that:

  • enable scientists based in the UK to continue to be part of the shared European research endeavour and have the best possible access to international funds and the collaborations they support;
  • create the lowest possible barriers to practising scientists seeking to move across borders;
  • provide clarity and certainty, including through regulation and governance, consistently signalling that the UK remains a great place to practice great science.

The Society has published a set of principles that should shape this future relationship and some factsheets that provide more information about why these arrangements are important for scientific research and innovation. The factsheets focus on People (PDF), on a shared vision for European research (PDF), and on regulation that supports research and innovation and earns public confidence (PDF).

Questions about Brexit and research

Access to research funding 

Working in the EU and UK

Our research and evidence

  • Case studies showing how researchers move internationally

    Read ten researchers' stories about the role that international mobility has played in their careers.

    Explore the evidence

  • Evidence on international mobility and collaboration

    The Society has published new evidence on international mobility and collaboration, to deepen our understanding of how, where and why researchers move to and from the UK.

    Explore the evidence

  • UK research and the EU: People

    Researchers working in the UK are from around the world. 

    Read our factsheet (PDF)

  • UK research and the EU: Regulation

    In a globalised world, we need regulation that supports research and innovation and earns public confidence.

    Read our factsheet (PDF)

  • UK research and the EU: A shared vision for European research

    When we research, we build on the body of knowledge that has been accumulated through the work of people around the world, and add to this. 

    Read our factsheet (PDF)

  • Seeking views on the the future of UK and EU scientific collaboration

    The Society is working with the Wellcome Trust to convene UK and EU science leaders to develop a shared vision for an ambitious, close and achievable future agreement on research and innovation. 

    Find out more

  • Evidence on the role of EU funding in UK research and innovation

    Detailed evidence on how EU funding breaks down across academic disciplines, institutions, industrial sectors, company sizes and regions of the UK.

    Read the report

  • Three reports on the relationship between UK research and the EU

    Before the referendum, the Society conducted a 3-part project about the influence of the UK’s relationship with the EU on UK research.

    Explore the project

Statements and comments

See all statement, comments and blog posts