Make science more important in Brexit-talks

Nieuws | de redactie
24 november 2016 | The process of leaving the European Union is still concerning scientists in the UK. The Science and Technology Committee of the British House of Commons is urging for a Chief Scientific Adviser as part of the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU).

The Brexit is still in the process of taking shape and “the science and research community is understandably concerned about the implications and opportunities of the UK leaving the European Union,” a report by the science and technology committee writes.

According to the committee the current “government’s strategy for communicating these recent announcements is insufficient. Speeches and high-level meetings with stakeholder representatives will not be enough to ensure that messages are received at all levels and by audiences around the world.”

Science should have a strong voice in the Brexit-talks, the committee argues. “The Government is meeting with stakeholders and assembling a high level forum on science and research, but we are not convinced that the needs of science and research are at the heart of the Department for Exiting the European Union’s (DExEU) thinking and planning for Brexit.”

In achieving this, a Chief Scientific Adviser should be part of the negotiations and the interim Chair of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) should be involved in the talks.  “Planning for exit negotiations is still underway, and there remains uncertainty about the future model of the relationship we will have with the EU. Nevertheless, the Government should now act to reduce uncertainty by setting out a vision for science. This should include commitments to raise science expenditure as a percentage of GDP (as we have previously urged).”

The committee also notes that the negotiations should include measures “to attract skilled researchers and students, to be taken forward in Brexit negotiations separately from immigration controls more broadly, and should include an immediate commitment to exempt EU researchers already working here from any wider potential immigration controls. The Government must also seek to capitalise on the opportunities of Brexit, including in terms of setting regulations to facilitate accessing markets and research collaborations beyond the EU.”

Read the full report here.

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