EuChemS has just published its position on Research and Education Without Borders After Brexit:
Culture, education and science know no borders. The EU has grown to be a word-leading provider of research and innovation, especially through the Framework programmes. They have provided leadership through fostering collaboration (including developing the European Research Area), supporting excellence, tackling societal challenges, supporting industrial development throughout Europe, improving shared international research infrastructure and building capacity across the region. The framework programmes represent a unique kind of international research programme with respect to their scale and breadth – there is nothing else quite like them in the world. Many of their actions require expertise from a variety of different Member States and third parties and some of them cannot be carried out by individual states. The main beneficiaries are societal and industrial throughout the EU and beyond. There is no doubt that the whole is very much greater than the sum of the individual parts.
It is widely recognised that the highly competitive funding streams and the ability to select collaborators from a wide range of different backgrounds across the EU has driven the quality of research and innovation throughout the EU and has enhanced the competitiveness of EU industry. As one of the most advanced research and industrial nations within the EU, the UK has, both through its input into planning bodies and its participation in programmes, contributed strongly to these improvements at all technology readiness levels from very fundamental research to industrial exploitation. Research and industrial competitiveness across the EU greatly benefit from the input of UK researchers and vice versa. Withdrawal of the UK from the many funding schemes would remove some of the key quality drivers and fundamentally damage research and innovation in Europe as well as in the United Kingdom.
Some of the key positive features of the current arrangements are:
- The ability of UK academic and industrial researchers to participate in all aspects of Horizon 2020 and its successor Framework programmes, including taking leading roles;
- The ability of UK researchers to participate in all forward planning for the remainder of Horizon 2020 and new Framework programmes;
- The ability of EU nationals to live/work/study freely in the UK and the ability of UK nationals to live/work/study freely in the EU.
- Access to major facilities based in the EU and in the UK to all researchers from the EU and the UK;
- A compatible regulatory system for research and innovation within the EU and the UK.
As negotiations proceed to determine the relationship between the EU and the UK following the latter’s withdrawal, EU scientists urge the negotiators to retain as strong as possible a relationship between EU and UK researchers. Continued collaboration without borders will improve research across all European countries for the benefit of mankind.