When Franklin Roosevelt entered the White House in 1933, the American economy was in ruins. The Great Depression had caused the unemployment rates to shoot up to nearly 25%, whilst the public debt-to-GDP ratio was surpassing all previous records. Income inequality at the start of the decade was also at levels the likes of which would not be seen again until the mid-2000s, with the richest 1% of the population owning nearly a quarter of the national wealth. A combination of financial collapse during the Great Crash and lack of social security, exacerbated by the natural disaster of the Dust Bowl, had contrived to create the longest-lasting and most wide-reaching depression the world has ever seen.
Although I voted remain in the referendum, I worked hard in its aftermath to advocate a way forward which respected the result but which would allow us to maintain close scientific ties with Europe and minimise disruption. Instead of a smooth transition, we face a situation in which British politics is failing. Regardless of which way you voted in the referendum, I do not believe anyone voted for the current confusion. Research and innovation are essential to the long term well-being of the UK’s economy, yet the current state of Brexit is risking our position as a global leader in both.
When I was a second-year Physics student at the University of Helsinki in Finland 24 years ago, Finland voted to join the European Union (after the negotiations, if I may add, not before). This opened the door for me to live and work anywhere in the EU. It is now painful to watch my own students having the same door slammed in their faces by Brexit.
My lab coordinates multi-million pound EU science projects: A 'no-deal' Brexit might abruptly end that
Professor Peter Coveney
I am a British scientist coordinating three multimillion, multinational EU projects and, despite having consulted the UK Government, I still fear a no-deal Brexit means I will not be able to receive project funds from the Commission to pay not only our UK labs but also our European partners.
This is why I want a guarantee from the government that, in the worst case scenario, they would make sure that each of my three grants can continue. To give me that guarantee, that means the UK Government has to be prepared to underwrite the entire project cost – EU partners included – to ensure that my projects can continue under UK leadership.
by Dr Andrew Kuc
At 11pm on March 29th 2019 the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. Incredibly, with just six months to go, the manner of our leaving remains uncertain. If a deal on the Withdrawal Agreement is successfully reached and ratified by all parties then the UK will prolong its association with the EU in the form of a ‘standstill’ transition period. This would include continued enjoyment of the single market, the customs union, aviation agreements, and Euratom.
However, if no agreement is reached, or it is rejected by Parliament, the UK would face falling out of the European Union, thereby losing the benefits of membership immediately. The treaties would cease to apply.
In this article I address the implications of no-deal Brexit on medical radioisotopes - a narrow subject, but one that is of considerable importance and relevance to a great many UK patients.
Dame Athene Donald
If Brexit means the UK loses access to European Research Council (ERC) funds just how bad will this be for our science? I believe the loss will be immense and in ways that impact far more than simply on the cash flow. I have been a member of the ERC’s Scientific Council for the last six years. I have watched the ERC’s work with interest and admiration. I can only metaphorically weep at all that is in danger of being tossed aside if the Government cannot resolve our access to the funds and sort out all the other associated issues such as visas and the easy mobility of researchers (and their families). I know there are those who believe we can replicate the ERC system of awarding grants to excellent individuals and, as long as the cash is there, if it is a different, national programme think it won’t matter. I think such people fail to understand the web of excellence that the ERC programme promotes. Alone we will be less. In this post I will simply concentrate on the direct implications of any loss of ERC funds here, rather than many of the knock-on effects on people and mobility, exchange of ideas and everything that genuine internationalisation has brought us.Read more
It’s been a good summer for astronomy. We had the longest total eclipse of the Moon of the 21st century, the delight that is the Perseid meteor shower, and NASA’s Parker Solar Probe began its journey to the Sun. On the ground, the general assembly of the International Astronomical Union met in Vienna, bringing around 3,000 of the world’s leading astronomers together to push the boundaries of research. The assembly, a triennial conference dating back to 1922, is a visible demonstration of the international nature of science and how the biggest questions are posed and answered by collaboration across national boundaries.
Dr Mike Galsworthy, Programme Director, Scientists for EU
On 23 Aug 2018, the Government published their technical notes on what no-deal Brexit would mean for UK access to the Horizon 2020 programme. Here we analyse what that means.Read more
by Nick Paul
Since 1985 UK manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers have enjoyed the ability to sell their products in all EU member states without any impediment caused by national safety standards. One set of standards meant safe products and fair access everywhere. After “Brexit day” on March 29th 2019, UK manufacturers – and UK consumers – fall out of the system of the now-famous 'CE mark'.
Sir Fraser Stoddart
The UK is home to some of the most creative and talented scientists of our time. They cover the spectrum all the way from molecular biology to quantum physics. In the middle of that spectrum lies chemistry and materials science. Interacting with these core fundamental sciences are world-leading atomic and molecular nanotechnologists alongside engineers of all persuasions. My area is the creation of molecular machines, for which I shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2016. A major catalyst on my life’s journey from Edinburgh to Stockholm was when I first threw my laboratory door open to researchers from across Europe and let the talent flood in.