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BSI response to calls from the Francis Crick Institute that a hard Brexit could 'cripple UK science'

22 October 2018

The Francis Crick Institute has today warned that a hard or ‘no deal’ Brexit could cripple UK science. Following a survey of Crick staff which revealed that 97% think a hard Brexit would be bad for UK science, 35 Nobel Prize winning scientists and Fields Medalists from across Europe wrote to UK Prime Minister Theresa May and EU President Jean-Claude Juncker to urge the ‘closest possible cooperation between the UK and the EU’ after Brexit to preserve vital scientific research.  In support of these initiatives, the British Society for Immunology has released the following statement:


Prof Peter Openshaw, President of the British Society for Immunology, said:

“Immunology, like other cutting-edge areas of biomedical science, is a global discipline and one in which the UK excels. We currently rank first amongst the G7 nations for our research in immunity and infectious disease and are now starting to reap the benefits of our efforts, with new treatments for previously incurable diseases emerging after decades of investment and collaboration in immunological research.

“A really important factor in the UK’s success has been our ability to attract the brightest and best minds from around the world to UK labs. These gifted colleagues make a huge contribution to the vitally important research carried out in this country, which positively impacts millions of lives. In turn, UK scientists have benefitted from opportunities to train and work in the best labs overseas. International collaborations are at the heart of modern scientific endeavour and we must do all we can to ensure that UK scientists can continue to participate in global teams, many of which have taken years to build, and contribute to vitally important research that has the potential to contribute so much to prosperity, health and wellbeing.

“The findings from the Crick’s survey echo what British Society for Immunology members have been telling us – namely that a hard Brexit will cripple UK research, leaving the UK much poorer and resulting in a loss of talent that will be impossible to replace. Along with the Crick, the British Society for Immunology calls on the UK Government and the EU to prioritise science in the Brexit negotiations to ensure that scientists from across Europe are able to continue to work closely together on life-saving research, collaborations which have taken decades to build up. Working together to solve big problems has been one of the wonderful aspects of being within the EU science funding schemes, but our leadership of collaborative grants in Europe is now being called into question. If the UK becomes isolated and its scientific capacity diminished, we all lose.”


You can read the full press release from the Francis Crick Institute here.

The letter from 35 Nobel Laureates and Fields Medalists can be read on the Royal Society website