If Britain leaves the EU, I believe that it will be a reflection of the fact that not enough people in this country care about science. Many can name Shakespeare and claim to have read some of his works but how many have tried to understand the contributions of
Newton or Galileo? At your average party, approximately zero.
How many British people think of how their vote might affect the future of British science and innovation before it’s cast? Considering a recent report prepared by Digital Science:
- A quarter of British public research funds depend on the EU for funding.
- EU research funding to the UK has topped £8.04bn, just behind the £8.34bn allocated to Germany.
- 41 per cent of public funding for cancer research in the UK, amounting to £126m;
- Only 7 per cent of research money allocated by the EU and European Research Council in the past decade has gone to non-member states and a lot of negotiation will probably be required in order to change this.
- Contrary to what Brexiters say, there’s no formal plan to replace the Horizon 2020 program with anything comparable.
It’s no surprise then that more than 83% of British scientists are against leaving the EU. Overall, we’re observing a Britain that’s increasingly afraid of immigrants. A Britain that’s obsessed with the risk of losing jobs and has no understanding of how a global economy works. An isolationist Britain that wants to break from the EU and will likely further break into pieces. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if Scotland left the UK in order to remain in the EU and Ireland unified for the same reasons.
My hope is that a second EU referendum will be allowed or that the Brexit motion will be overturned by legislation. Otherwise, research will be made harder for many British scientists.