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Brexit Briefcase

Below you will find a number of documents relating to the UK's decision to leave the European Union and what this means for science and immunology. These documents include BSI briefings, reports, and consultation responses, as well as useful publications from other organisations in the wider science sector.

Brexit: withdrawal, implementation and beyond

On Friday 29 March 2019, the UK will leave the European Union. Since triggering Article 50 in March 2017, the UK government has been negotiating the terms of the UK's exit from the EU and has recently achieved a key milestone in this process - production of a Withdrawal Agreement. Here, we discuss what the Agreement covers, what will happen following its potential acceptance by parliament and what all of this means for immunology. 

Read the full article>

Science & Technology Select Committee call for written evidence ahead of 'An immigration system that works for science and innovation' inquiry (June 2018)

This month, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee called for written evidence for their inquiry into 'an immigration system that works for science and innovation'. Using this evidence, the Committee intends to develop tis own proposals to the Government regarding immigration and visa legislation following Brexit. In this evidence, we highlight the role of international collaboration in scientific progress, and stress the importance of reaching an early immigration and funding deal with the EU in maintaining the UK's ability to attract and retain international talent. 

Read the full response > 

Science and Technology Select Committee call for evidence ahead of Brexit Summit (February 2018)

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee held a Brexit Summit to consider and solidify the key priorities for the sector ahead of upcoming negotiations with the EU. In this evidence to the Committee, we highlight and reiterate our key asks for immunologists, including around access to EU framework funding, infrastructure, regulation and an immigration system that does not impede the flow of talent and ideas.

Read the full response >

Brexit and immunology - where are we now? (January 2018)

In December the BSI hosted its Annual Congress in Brighton. A lunchtime session on Brexit and the progress made since the June 2016 referendum looked to explore a range of topics from citizen's rights to funding to science's place in the negotiations. Here, we summarise the session and its outcomes as we continue to look forward towards a positive post-Brexit landscape for immunology.

The session heard from Peter Kyle MP, local MP for Hove and Naomi Weir, Deputy Director at the Campaign for Science and Engineering.

Read the full blog >

Letter to the BSI from Jo Johnson MP (February, 2017)

The BSI has received a letter from Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and lnnovation, in response to our work highlighting our four key priorities for immunological research in the Brexit negotiations. 

Read the full letter >

How the UK can seize the opportunity to define a new relationship with the EU (January 2017)

The Prime Minister has said she is committed to "ensuring a positive outcome for UK science as we exit the European Union". The BSI is determined to do all it can to help make a virtue out of necessity and to forge a positive new relationship with the EU. This means preserving our ability to recruit and retain the very best scientists, regardless of nationality. It also means protecting the mechanisms that support our ability to collaborate at scale with the very best science, wherever it is found. And finally, it means supporting our science base, putting science and innovation at the heart of a thriving knowledge-based economy, and cementing our place as one of the best places in the world to do cutting-edge research.

This document outlines the four key priorities that can help the UK define a positive new scientific relationship with the EU. We are encouraging BSI members and colleagues to send it to their local MP and to make the most of democracy by making your voice heard, explaining why immunology matters. You can find out who your local MP is using this link. We also have a template email that can be used to request a meeting with the MP to discuss this important issue.

Brexit session at Congress: What's happening and what questions are being asked for Science? (January 2017)

In December the BSI hosted its Annual Congress, this year in collaboration with the Dutch Society for Immunology (NVVI). A lunchtime session on Brexit and its implications for immunology looked to explore the inner workings of the Brexit process and to hear the questions and concerns of immunologists on the subject. Here, we summarise the session and its outcomes as we continue to look forward towards a positive post-Brexit landscape for immunology.

The session heard from Oliver Ilott, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Government, who described how Whitehall is preparing for the Brexit process. If of interest, further information  is available on the IfG website here. For regular updates and expert commentary on Brexit and other issues affecting government you can also up to the IfG newsletter here.

Read the full blog >

BSI response to Science & Technology Committee report on implications of Brexit for science (November 2016)

In November the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published the final report of their inquiry into the implications of leaving the EU for science and research. The report called on the Government to reduce Brexit uncertainty for the science sector by making an immediate commitment to exempt EU scientists and researchers already working in the UK from wider potential immigration controls. They also recommended that the Government act quickly to set out their vision of science post-Brexit and commit to raising science expenditure as a percentage of GDP. Welcoming the report, BSI President Professor Peter Openshaw highlighted the global nature of science and urged action to ensure that the UK's research base can continue to flourish in the years ahead.

Read the full statement >

Brexit: what next for immunology? (November 2016)

This article appeared in the November edition of Immunology News and summarises the latest developments in the Brexit process, including: the Government's defeat in the courts; early impacts of the referendum decision on UCAS admissions and the cost of scientific equipment; as well as key appointments to an influential parliamentary committee.

This article is available for members only.

Read the full article

Briefing for House of Lords debate on potential impacts of the UK's withdrawal from the EU on funding for universities and scientific research (October 2016)

Science is a global pursuit. Spending on research must be considered in that context and pays back handsomely in driving national prosperity; however, we lag behind key competitor nations in research spend. This BSI briefing considers funding within this context and outlines some of the potential implications for UK researchers that may arise as a result of our withdrawal from the EU.

Read the full briefing >

Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry on Leaving the EU: implications and opportunities for science and research (September 2016)

The decision of the British people to leave the European Union (EU) has generated a very significant set of challenges for the scientific community. The EU plays a hugely facilitative role in promoting scientific collaboration, ensuring fluid researcher mobility, and funding the highest quality scientific research. In this evidence to the Science and Technology Select Committee, we set out what we see as priority issues of engagement for the exit negotiations. These include maintaining access to the full programme of EU science initiatives (Horizon 2020), preserving streamlined cross-border entry systems for scientists (ideally by retaining free movement), and guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens currently residing here to stay. However, as our report Immunology: An international, life-saving science points out, immunology is a truly global science. Therefore, the post-referendum period may also offer fresh opportunities to expand or renew strong links with partners outside Europe.

Read the full response >

BSI response to the EU referendum result (June 2016)

On June 23rd 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union in a national referendum. Commenting on the news, BSI President Professor Peter Openshaw said that immunology shared with other branches of science an in-built internationalism that must continue to thrive, whatever the political climate.

Read the full statement >

Immunology: An international, life-saving science (June 2016)

The UK ranks first amongst the G7 for the quality of its research in infection and immunology, a fact that is in no small part due to the numerous global links and relationships that support world-class immunological research in our institutions. Our new report Immunology: an international, life-saving science highlights why these international influences matter and makes a number of recommendations that can help ensure UK immunology continues to flourish on the international stage.

Read the full response >