Brexit hits UK science funding, deters international researchers

by ace

LONDON (Reuters) – Uncertainty over Britain's exit from the European Union has hit science funding of half a billion euros and is preventing international researchers from coming to Britain, a leading institution said on Wednesday. market.

FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Fusion Energy Research Center at Fulham Science Center in Oxfordshire, England, August 8, 2019. Julian Simmonds / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

An analysis conducted by the Royal Society's science academy found that UK's annual participation in EU research funding has dropped by about 460 million euros ($ 509.40 million) since 2015, making it a less attractive destination for talent. international scientific

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to remove Britain from the EU with or without a deal by the end of October.

Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society, said the potential paralysis of a Brexit without agreement and the current state of chaos has already led to a dramatic drop in the number of leading researchers wishing to come to the UK.

"People don't want to play their careers when they have no idea if the UK will be willing and able to maintain its global scientific leadership," he said in a statement as the analysis was published.

On funding, the Royal Society report found that in 2015, prior to the UK referendum on Brexit, Britain secured € 1.49 billion, or 16% of all Horizon 2020 grants. – the EU's research and innovation program, which has about € 77 billion. funding between 2014 and 2020.

By 2018, that number had dropped to just over 11% of donations, or 1.06 billion euros.

Britain has historically been an attractive place for ambitious researchers and leaders to work, the Royal Society report said – but Brexit is tarnishing that reputation.

He cited data from an EU-administered scheme known as "Marie Curie Fellowships" designed to help scientists move to foreign institutions.

In 2015, before the referendum, 515 scientists made these scholarships at British institutions. By 2018, that number had dropped to 336.

At the same time, the number of scholarships for scientists who moved to Switzerland and Italy increased by 53 each, and Ireland, Spain, Belgium, Norway and Sweden also attracted a larger number.

"Therefore, the UK lost the attraction of 179 internationally excellent scientists to its institutions through this scheme only in 2018. And our international competitors are benefiting," the report said.

A spokesman for the government's business, energy and industry department said it was determined that Britain would become "a world leading place" for science after Brexit.

"That's why we firmly pledge to increase investment in research and development to at least 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and why the Prime Minister recently announced a quick visa route for scientists to come to the UK." , he said.

Editing by Jane Merriman and Alexandra Hudson

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