British researchers fear for their future

  • Ramifications of a hard Brexit were much worser for British researchers than ever presumed, is the outcome of a new analysis.

  • Therefore researchers from GB are no longer considered for three funding programs of the EU.

  • The country would lose almost half of its EU subsidies.


By Astrid Viciano

Chaos. Cans of ravioli, dried meat and baked beans will soon pile up in storage depots, as well as supplies of vaccines and blood units hoarded. The British Government is preparing to cushion a hard Brexit from the European Union without agreement. For British researchers the consequences of such a No-Deal-Brexit might be much worser as presumed before, is the outcome of a new analysis.
As the campaign “Scientists for the EU” reports, possibly British researchers prospectively will have no more access to significant funds of the EU. That’s what the authors conclude after they analyzed recently published documents of the British Government concerning the Brexit. According to the documents scientists from GB are no longer considered for funding programs of the EU. Almost half of the financial resources the EU spent on research in GB came from these programs.
Hitherto British research was absolutely successful competing for funds. Just within of the EU research program Horizon 2020 of the European Commission they received 4.6 Billion Euros since 2014, the authors of the analysis report. And in the course of Horizon 2020 GB has coordinated more projects than any other country. With 3015 projects the Brits are ahead of Spain with 2358 and of Germany with 2106 projects.
“In case of a No-Deal-Brexit GB loses about 45 Percent of its research funds.” relates Mike Galsworthy, director of the “Scientist for the EU”-campaign. According to his calculations, this would be almost 580 million Euros per annum.
Within the Horizon-2020-programGB received 1.29 billion Euros in total from the European Research Council ERC, almost 700 million Euros from the Marie-Skladowska-Curie-Program. And another program, that helps small and medium sized start-ups find their feet, has channeled almost 140 million Euros into the country. “A No-Deal-Brexit were absolutely devastating.” says Galsworthy. All this might set back the research in GB for years, he admonishes. A further aspect is that from March 2019 every researcher from the EU will need visa for working there. A bureaucratic and financial effort, which will deter many of them.
Whereas the British Government appeases and explains that a Brexit without agreement was “very unlikely”. Moreover it declares in the newly published documents that in case of a No-Deal each British Horizon-2020-Project will be funded until they are finished. But what if British researchers are coordinating a project of the EU? This scenario the government is going to fathom with the EU Commission.
But Galsworthy is skeptical: First the country had to reorganize after a No-Deal-Brexit. Then the government had different things to worry about if top researchers henceforth went to GB — or rather to Germany.

Translation: Thorsten Ramin

Süddeutsche Zeitung

By the way: British researchers, citizens and residents, You have an idea, a critic or something to say concerning the issue Brexit? Then you are welcome to send me your contribution by mail ( Anything you send me might find its way into a program „How to get rid of Brexit“. Thanx, yours Thorsten Ramin