“Brexit a disaster”

Nieuws | de redactie
12 november 2015 | Wetenschappers en rectores van de Britse HO-instellingen luiden de noodklok tegen een Brexit. Deze zou leiden tot het verlies van vele miljarden aan investeringen in kennis, aan banen en kansen. "Half my cancer research funding is from the ERC."

De Guardian heeft testimonials uit alle disciplines verzameld om met de betrokken geleerden in te schatten wat een vertrek uit de EU zou opleveren in hun vakgebieden. Kankeronderzoeker prof Gerald Evan zegt: “It would be a disaster. Half my cancer research funding is from the European Research Council (ERC). Science funding from the EU is already mission critical and is set to become even more important when the expected new round of cost cuts are implemented. Our European membership means that EU funding is ours by competitive right, not by some optimistically portrayed future negotiation.”  

Wat als de Schotten dit deden?

Hij houdt de Engelse kiezers voor hoe zij zouden hebben gereageerd op Schotse geleerden na een referendum dat had geleid tot uittreden uit het UK. “English Brexit supporters should ask themselves how they would have dealt with Scottish representations to stay part of UK science funding had they become independent. The rest of the UK would have told Scotland to go take a hike. And Europe will say the same to us if we leave!”

“The EU is one huge community of talent,” zegt Mike Galsworthy, van de London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “You can put together multinational, innovative, bespoke teams to tackle the really big global challenges. It’s not just the money; that could, maybe, be compensated. It’s that we’re on top of this massive engine, driving us all forward together … Hoping British science would do as well if we weren’t is like imagining Lionel Messi would be the player he was without the Barcelona first team playing all round him.”

Irrelevante modellen

Het argument dat Noorwegen en Israel toch ook mee kunnen doen in EU-programma’s, lijkt hem niet erg to the point. “First, what happened in Switzerland after they voted to restrict EU immigration is instructive: they lost a big chunk of funding, instantly. These models are also irrelevant because the countries are a 10th of the UK’s size, and have never been EU members. Politically, it’s impossible for the biggest recipient of EU grants, which we have been, to be a country that has deliberately chosen to leave the EU. It’s just not going to happen.”

De HO-instellingen wijzen erop, dat de wetenschap zo sterk geglobaliseerd en Europees is geworden dat een vertrek uit de Unie het economisch voortbestaan van hun organisaties bedreigen zou. Universities UK, de Britse VSNU, rekent voor: “more than 15% of teaching and research staff at Britain’s 132 universities are non-British EU nationals, including some of the most highly regarded researchers in the country. More than half the European Research Council’s (ERC) prestigious mid-career grants in UK universities are held by researchers from other EU countries.”

7 miljard uit R&D-funding

Verlies daarvan en van de input van studenten die met EU-beurzen opleidingen volgen kost de Britse econome vele miljarden, zo luiden de projecties van de Brexit-gevolgen. In R&D gaat het om zeer grote bedragen en lange termijn investeringen die op het spel staan.

“Proportionately British universities do very well indeed out of the pooled EU resources. The UK contributes just over 11% of the EU’s budget, but during the last seven-year EU funding programme, known as FP7, won 15.5% – about €7bn (£5bn) – of the sums awarded. Last year alone, under the current Horizon 2020 funding programme, British institutions secured £687m of EU research funding. From 2007-13 four British institutions – Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial – were among the 10 most successful recipients, between them hosting some 380 ERC projects, each worth between €1.5m and €2.5m and typically employing a team of six top scientists,” noteert de Guardian uit de cijfers van de instellingen over hun programma’s. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/nov/11/brexit-would-weaken-uk-universities

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