The UK has a rich scientific heritage, including contributions from luminaries such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Tim Berners-Lee. But as the clock continues its countdown to March 29, a growing consensus of scientists believe Brexit will jeopardise this rich legacy. Professor Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, the Noble Prize-winning Royal Society President, believes there are both concrete and abstract consequences of the UK’s Brexit referendum result.
He said: “In the last 40 years there has been a resurgence of European science because of the EU.
If this uncertainty persists longer then it could become serious
Professor Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
“And this has had several strands to it: the ease with which European scientists can collaborate, common funding streams allowing us to tackle bigger problems, and there is this common framework of regulations, mean anything from general standards, to rules on animal experimentation, to the approval of medicines – all of these have been made possible.
“Our worry is that if we leave the EU without a deal, all of this would be in jeopardy.
“Brexit is also affecting the sciences because it is sending out a perception that the UK is not open for business and the UK does not want scientists from other countries.
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Brexit news: Science and technology could suffer greatly in a no-deal scenario (Image: Getty)
Brexit news: Professor Ramakrishnan belives the UK's rich scientific heritage is at risk (Image: Getty)
“I know that is not true, but perceptions are dangerous things.”
The Royal Society President also believes there is already anecdotal evidence that uncertainty over what form Brexit will take is making a difference to the sciences.
He said: “There is early evidence of people who might have come here, haven’t and some people have already left.
“If this uncertainty persists longer then it could become serious.”
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The Indian-born dual UK and US citizen, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, thinks a no-deal Brexit would be the worst case scenario for the sciences, in terms of ease of collaboration and funding.
He said: “If you leave without a deal for science, which means we won’t be part of the European science programs, we won’t have that ease of collaboration, that will really be quite bad for British science.
“It means we will lose not just the collaboration and funding streams, we would lose our voice in European science.
“We actually receive a lot more than we proportionally contribute in terms of the sciences, about €1billion in Euro research funding.
“And even if the UK