Brexit summit hears science and innovation should have a special place in negotiations with the European Union

SCIENCE and innovation should figure prominently in the negotiations with Europe over Brexit, a summit heard.

Norman Lamb MP, who chairs the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, made the comment at the special Brexit summit on science and innovation.

IPEM President Professor Mark Tooley was among around 80 invited guests from a range of scientific institutions who attended it.

The summit took the form of panels which considered a number of key issues, namely: people, funding, collaboration and regulation.

Lord Robert Mair, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in Westminster, where the summit was held, said it was vital that engineers, researchers and innovators from the 27 EU countries had certainty about the opportunities to continue to work in the UK - and for British researchers to work in other EU countries.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, gave a passionate talk about the need to attract the best from Europe to UK universities and institutions in order to maintain Britain’s high standing in the world.

Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of University College London, said the current Brexit situation was making the UK much less attractive to EU experts.

He said:We advertise a series of excellence fellowships, mainly in biomedical sciences. Each year we usually have over 100 applicants. On average, we would expect 30% or so of those applicants to be from other European institutions. This year we dropped from 30% to zero applications, something that quite shocked me. That is real evidence that the impact is already upon us.’

Sam Gyimah MP, the recently appointed Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, said the UK has always been a strong believer in the international nature of research, and will continue to encourage the EU and countries around the world to collaborate on global issues.

He added: ‘We will continue to welcome international talent to the UK, and we will do all we can to maintain funding to support innovation across the UK.'

The panel on funding and collaboration all agreed that scientific collaboration must be continued with the 27 EU countries, said Professor Tooley.

Professor Tooley said: ‘It seemed to me that the whole room were of one voice and all were passionate scientists and engineers. The issues were well described and the ministers present were certainly made well aware of them.’

You can read a full transcript of the summit here.

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Posted: Mar 2, 2018,
Categories: IPEM News,
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Author: Sean Edmunds
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