Director's update: what science needs from the Brexit settlement

On the day the UK begins the formal process of leaving the European Union, Wellcome's Director Jeremy Farrar sets out what science needs to flourish in a post-Brexit world.

Dr Jeremy Farrar

Credit: Wellcome

Wellcome Director Jeremy Farrar

We know that as the UK starts the process to leave the EU, the potential of science and research to contribute to a better world will best be realised if all the nations involved recognise that knowledge and understanding do not stop at borders. No matter what the legal agreements that bind them, they will always accomplish more together than separately.

Wellcome believes wholeheartedly in the values of scientific excellence, international cooperation and collaboration, and will uphold them in our own work, as we hope all the parties in the Brexit negotiations will in theirs. 

Wellcome is now working with the UK government and organisations that fund or directly carry out scientific research across the world, to achieve a Brexit settlement in which: 

  • people from around the EU who currently live and work in the UK feel welcome and stay – so that individuals, teams and institutions have the confidence and stability to plan ahead
  • the UK develops a simple, swift post-Brexit immigration system for skilled researchers, technicians and innovators – so that the UK maintains its place as a world-leader in global science
  • the UK keeps access to EU research funding, and explores alternative, international funding schemes if that’s not possible – so that scientists here still have a good range of potential funding sources recognising the importance of excellence and collaboration
  • the UK and the EU cooperate on life sciences regulation – so that research is less burdened by bureaucracy and cross-border collaboration can flourish. 

Whatever the Brexit negotiations may bring, Wellcome will continue to help researchers work together, wherever they are.