“A hard Brexit could cripple UK science”: The Francis Crick Institute

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A report from the Francis Crick Institute has shown that Nobel scientists believe a hard Brexit could “cripple UK science”.

The UK government has commented on its plan for post-Brexit science funding, but there is still uncertainty among scientists about how Brexit will affect the industry. The Francis Crick Institute houses the largest biomedical research facility in Europe. The Francis Crick Institute’s survey of Nobel scientists indicates that the majority believe that a hard Brexit could cripple UK science and suggests that scientists are now significantly less likely to remain in the UK for their next science role.

How could a hard Brexit cripple UK science?

The report found that:

  • 97% of Crick scientists believe a hard Brexit would be bad for UK science;
  • 50% of the Crick scientists are less likely to stay in the UK when they leave the institute; and
  • Just 3% of Crick scientists believe that the scientific community is being listened to and represented in Brexit discussions.

Karine Rizotti, a stem cell researcher born in France and collaborating with pan European researchers is concerned that Brexit slow their research progress. She said: “The referendum result felt like a real slap in the face. I have been living and working for two decades and I never thought I’d have to apply for citizenship.”

A good Brexit deal for UK science

The Nobel winner Sir Paul Nurse said: “This survey reveals the depth of feeling amongst scientists that a hard Brexit will seriously damage UK research, and that the government is not paying enough attention to science in the Brexit negotiations. Science and research matter for the UK’s economic growth, for the nation’s health and quality of life, and for the environment. The overwhelming negativity of scientists towards a hard Brexit should be a wake-up call to the country and the government. A hard Brexit could cripple UK science and the government needs to sit up and listen. We need a deal that replaces the science funding lost because of Brexit, that preserves freedom of movement for talented scientists, and that makes them feel welcome in this country.”

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