Wednesday, June 29, 2016

We're out of Europe!

No, not a football post, nor even politics really, it's a science one for a change.

While people are debating the options for our departure from the EU over the next few years, British science is already proving itself to be well ahead of the game. We're already being widely excluded from EU grant applications, because no-one sane wants to take the risk of setting up a multi-year collaboration with a UK partner, when this partner may be pulled out at any time (and no-one would fund such a proposal when safer alternatives exist). It's all over twitter so far, and not just 3rd hand rumours of rumours - I actually know Paul who's not far away in Lancaster.

Science is one area where the UK gets a lot out of the EU - more than any other country, and far more money than we put in. Well, up to now, anyway.

We're less than a week past the vote, with no plan, no govt, no opposition, no way out, (and no prospect for any of these in the next few months) and the real impacts have already started. Well done Brexit.

Oh, sorry, it was politics after all.


jules said...

I predict a new "hiatus" - in science funding in the UK!

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, it will only be a temporary slowdown ;-)

James Annan said...

Problem is, people can't usually breeze through even a temporary hiatus in their careers. I've actually now heard a story of someone having their 3y EU-funded postdoc job offer withdrawn in the last few days, not by the EU of course, but presumably because the employer wasn't prepared to take the risk - if we leave they'd not be eligible for the funding but still liable for the postdoc's salary.

I can see the best UK scientists deciding it isn't worth the risk of even applying for EU funding - who would want to set out on a program of research when it could be cancelled 2 years in? Cameron gave some assurances about existing contracts under one particular program - Horizon2020 - but that doesn't say anything about future contracts, or grants outside of that framework.

James Annan said...

Well some people have noticed

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree that even if there is a short hiatus, it could have a devastating effect on some people's careers, and mainly on those who are in the early stages of their career. I haven't heard any stories myself yet, but it sounds like it is already having an impact in some research sectors.