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Nov 6, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

What is the fate of scientific research in the UK post-Brexit? According to a recent survey by leading UK biomedical research lab the Francis Crick Institute, many scientists believe that a hard Brexit could “cripple” UK science. The good news is they also believe close co-operation could preserve it -- particularly if the government is willing to listen to the academic community. Here’s a closer look at the findings.

A Call to Listen

The Crick investigation reveals that a staggering 97 percent of its scientists believe a hard Brexit would be bad for UK science. Meanwhile, just three percent of surveyed scientists say that the scientific community’s concerns are being adequately represented during Brexit negotiations.

Said Crick Director Paul Nurse, “This survey reveals the depth of feeling amongst scientists that a hard Brexit will seriously damage UK research, and that the government is not paying enough attention to science in the Brexit negotiations. Science and research matter for the UK’s economic growth, for the nation’s health and quality of life, and for the environment. The overwhelming negativity of scientists towards a hard Brexit should be a wake-up call to the country and the government. A hard Brexit could cripple UK science and the government needs to sit up and listen.”

Also to that end, just under 30 Nobel Prize winners from across the continent have joined forces in calling for the “closest possible cooperation between the UK and the EU” after Brexit.

Retaining Top Talent

Additionally, the Crick report points to the possible implications of a hard Brexit on the UK’s ability to attract and retain scientific talent -- which could have serious repercussions on the country’s ability to prosper moving forward.

There is a potential solution, however. Nurse claimed, “We need a deal that replaces the science funding lost because of Brexit, that preserves freedom of movement for talented scientists, and that makes them feel welcome in this country.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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