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The Science and Technology Committee has published its report on Brexit, science and innovation, following a consultation to which the RSB responded, and the Brexit: Science and Innovation summit at which chief executive Dr Mark Downs FRSB attended as a biosciences representative.

The Committee is calling for an early deal for science and research with the EU – to be in place by October 2018 or earlier, and encompassing clarification of the status of EU students applying to study in the UK in 2019.

The committee is also calling for the Government to clarify their intention to secure Associated Country status for the Framework Programme 9 (FP9) – the EU’s next flagship research funding programme.

Dr Laura Bellingan, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Royal Society of Biology commented: “It is clear that the science community, which relies upon long-term planning for research programmes and people, has particular difficulties in the current environment.

"As we move closer to transition points, the need for clear plans increases. Securing the best environment for science to thrive in the UK will deliver benefits for people and the public purse.   

“We urge Government to secure and communicate the environment it plans for science. Uncertainly will not benefit our current or future scientists, or EU and international collaborators,  nor our ability to continue to generate world-leading research and innovation.”

Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, commented: “The UK’s science and innovation sector is in a strong position as the UK enters the Brexit negotiations.

"The UK is home to four of the world’s top ten universities and the Government has committed to raising funding by £4.7 billion by 2021. But we can’t take it for granted that we will retain this world-leading position.

"A concerning lack of clarity remains over access to funding, association with regulatory bodies, and immigration policies.

“Cooperation on science and innovation is a ‘win-win’ for the UK and the EU. An early deal would provide assurances to researchers, students and academics, and could set a positive tone for future negotiations. It is crucial that the Government acts swiftly. If it fails to do so both sides could suffer considerably as a result.” 

 

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