18 Nov 2016
MPs on the UK Science and Technology Committee have released their report, Leaving the EU: implications and opportunities for science and research, demanding an end to uncertainty and an immediate commitment to exempt EU scientists and researchers already working in the UK from wider potential immigration controls.
The MPs acknowledged that planning for exit negotiations is still underway but said ‘there is clear agreement that researcher mobility is a crucial component of the UK’s successful research and science sector. The issue should be treated separately from discussions about immigration control more broadly, with firm commitments provided as soon as possible.’
Concern was expressed at the lack of a Chief Science Adviser to the Department for Existing the EU to ensure that the impact on science and research of various models for Brexit, and the opportunities these provide, is understood and prioritised. Greater clarity in the communication strategy was highlighted as a necessity, with MPs asking for ‘a clear message now that [the Government] intends to protect the UK’s strength in science’.
To secure the best outcome from the Brexit process, the report argued that the priority issues for the science community it listed – funding, people, collaboration, regulation and facilities – as a coherent whole rather than a list of separate considerations and repeated its previous recommendations that the UK articulate an ambitious vision for science and increase its expenditure on science R&D to 3% of GDP (from 1.67%).
The committee did highlight the many opportunities made possible by the exiting process, including the future ability for the UK to create its own regulatory framework, which would likely have a positive impact on science, particularly life sciences.
The full report is available to read here.
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