Brexit Poses Two-Way Threat to European Research

The proposed Brexit, scheduled to take place within the next two years, places both the United Kingdom and the European Union at risk of losing an important research partnership. This concern has become a major component of Brexit negotiations.

  • Brexit Background

The “Brexit” refers to the decision of Britain to leave the European Union. First proposed in November of 2016 and officially declared in March of 2017, the Brexit will actually take place after a two-year time limit of negotiations. This puts the date of Brexit at March of 2019, unless terms are agreed upon before this time. This is unlikely, as the proposal has caused tension and arguments throughout the European Union.

  • Research and Innovation Threat

A major threat posed by Brexit is to research and innovation. The United Kingdom is one of the leading research nations in the European Union, with many leading researchers and professors. The Brexit would prevent the European Union from benefitting from this top research. Likewise, the United Kingdom relies largely on funding from the European Union to facilitate research budgets. Without this funding, UK research would suffer. The UK has the potential to remain an “associated member” of the EU, which may allow for continued research collaboration and support. However, this is uncertain and without guarantee.

  • Special Concerns in Medical Research

An area of particular concern is the effect that the Brexit will have on medical research. Currently, the United Kingdom is in a position of being able to provide the best treatments for patients based on funded research programs. In addition, having ties with the European Union provides worldwide connections and an ability to obtain new treatments and data as it becomes available through other research programs. After the Brexit, this sharing of data – even within the European Union – may cease to be possible.

  • Looking to the U.S. for Support

As of late September of 2017, the United Kingdom has established a research agreement with the United States. This agreement is in preparation for post-Brexit policies that would threaten United Kingdom research. Possible areas of research include synthetic biology, information technology, and GM research. Building these scientific relationships with global leaders such as the United States is a key move to success post-Brexit.

Although the looming Brexit deal spells trouble for both United Kingdom and European Union research and innovation, new agreements aim to counter possible losses.

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