Commenting on the referendum decision for the UK to leave the European Union, Professor Peter Openshaw, President of the British Society for Immunology (BSI), said:
“Immunology shares with other branches of science an in-built internationalism that must continue to thrive, whatever the political climate. UK scientists and institutions have always been at the forefront of immunology; we are living through exciting times, with many treatments for previously incurable diseases emerging after decades of hard investment and collaboration in immunological research.
“A great example of internationalism is our upcoming annual Congress in December – a joint meeting with the Dutch Society for Immunology, which will showcase cutting-edge research from across Europe and the rest of the world. In a changing landscape, we must continue to celebrate and support our internationalism, not limiting ourselves to Europe but reaching out worldwide.
“Those of us who work in the discipline are aware that the UK’s best labs are staffed by a rich mix of talented scientists from around the world. In turn, UK scientists have great opportunities to work in, and learn from, the best labs overseas. We must do all we can to ensure that these collaborations remain and grow; all these gifted colleagues must continue to feel welcome in our laboratories and UK scientists must be free to go wherever they need to do great work. Our members must continue to participate in global teams, many of which have taken years to build, and contribute to vitally important research that will positively impact millions of lives.
“The British Society for Immunology’s recent report on the internationalism of immunology makes a number of recommendations that will enable immunology to flourish. We urge both UK and EU ministers, policy makers and funders to look at these proposals and consider how they can best work with us to build on our proud heritage in this new political environment.
“Immunology is a global science. The BSI will continue to work with funders and decision makers to ensure that these enormously valuable international collaborations continue to shape the future of bioscience and medicine.”
You can download the recent BSI report 'Immunology: a global, life-saving science' highlights the importance of global links and relationships in supporting world-class immunological research in our institutions and makes recommendations to ensure that UK immunology continues to flourish on a global stage. You can download a copy here.