Call for top scientist to give science a strong voice in the negotiations to leave the EU as report is published

A CHIEF Scientific Adviser should be urgently appointed to give science a strong voice in the negotiations to leave the European Union, MPs on the Science and Technology Committee have said.

The call was made after the Committee published its report on the implications of leaving the EU, which members of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine contributed written evidence to earlier this year.

In its report, the Committee has pointed to the importance of UK science having a strong voice in the negotiations over leaving the EU and has argued that the new Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) should urgently appoint a Chief Scientific Adviser.

Science and Technology Committee Chair, Stephen Metcalfe MP said: ‘We are not convinced that the needs of science and research are at the heart of DExEU’s thinking and planning for Brexit. That’s why we are calling on DExEU to hire a Chief Scientific Adviser as a matter of priority. The concerns and needs of our world class research establishments and scientists working in the UK must be heard at the negotiating table.’

The Committee also called on the Government to make an immediate commitment to exempt EU scientists and researchers already working in the UK from wider potential immigration controls.

Stephen Metcalfe MP, said: ‘Uncertainty over Brexit threatens to undermine some of the UK’s ongoing international scientific collaborations. Telling EU scientists and researchers already working in the UK that they are allowed to stay is one way the Government could reduce that uncertainty right away.’

While planning for the UK‘s exit negotiations is still underway and uncertainty remains about the UK’s future relationship with the EU, MPs on the Committee are calling on the Government to act quickly and set out a vision for science.

Evidence submitted to the Committee’s inquiry showed the science community’s hopes and fears for the future revolved around five key issues:

Funding – in particular the need to secure ongoing access to EU sources such as Horizon 2020 and its successors.
People – specifically the attractiveness of the UK as a place to live, work and study, and the need to provide guarantees to those already working here.
Collaboration – for UK researchers to continue to be part of multi-national projects and continue to influence the EU’s research agenda and strategic direction.
Regulation – ensuring that regulations which facilitate research collaboration and access to the EU market are retained, and those which hinder innovation are revised.
Facilities – concerns about the ability of UK researchers to continue to access EU research facilities in other countries, and the need to protect the future of those currently hosted in the UK.


IPEM was one of more than 260 organisations and individuals which contributed evidence to the inquiry.

To read the Committee’s full report please click here and to read IPEM’s written evidence to the inquiry click here.

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Posted: Nov 30, 2016,
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