Brexit and the EU

We're working with the UK government and others to achieve a Brexit settlement that allows research to thrive in the UK and Europe.

Our position

Knowledge and understanding don’t stop at borders. Nations will always achieve more together than separately, whatever the legal agreements that exist between them.

So we’re asking for a Brexit settlement in which:

  • people from 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 if possible, or if not explores alternative, international funding schemes – so that scientists in the UK still have a good range of potential funding sources which recognise the importance of excellence and collaboration
  • the UK and the EU cooperate on life sciences regulation – so that research isn’t burdened by bureaucracy, and cross-border collaboration can flourish. 

What we’re doing

Future Partnership Project

Building a strong future for European science: Brexit and beyond sets out our view on how a new EU-UK research partnership should work. Our findings draw on what we learned from 200 organisations and individuals through the Future Partnership Project. 

Timeline of key dates

2019

November

May

February

January

2018

December

  • Our Head of UK and EU Policy, Beth Thompson, gives evidence to the House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee on the impact of Brexit on funding for research. Read the written submission [PDF 479KB].

November

October

June

May 

February 

January 

  • Alongside the Royal Society, we bring together 30 European research leaders [PDF 780KB] at Chicheley Hall. We present our Future Partnership Project consultation and evidence synthesis, and produce a joint vision for a practical and ambitious future EU-UK partnership. 
  • With the Intergovernmental Network for Government Science Advice, we host a roundtable event [PDF 297KB] to explore the future of EU-UK scientific and technical advice, and evidence-informed policy making. 

2017

December 

  • Alongside Science Europe, we host a private dinner in Brussels [PDF 289KB] to identify priorities for a future EU-UK partnership. The Royal Society hosts a parallel dinner in London the following day. 
  • In a joint statement, we back calls for the government to ensure post-Brexit immigration rules will allow the UK to continue to recruit highly trained technical staff.

November 

October 

September 

August 

  • The UK government releases a range of position papers on customs arrangements, legal arrangements and data protection following Brexit. Natalie Banner highlights the importance of continuing to share data in Research Professional

June 

May 

April 

March 

  • Article 50 is triggered, starting the formal process of the UK leaving the EU.
  • We publish an update from Jeremy Farrar on our position and work to make sure science flourishes in a post-Brexit world.  

January 

  • Jeremy Farrar sets out the critical issues that need to be resolved for the UK to attract the world’s finest scientists in a joint comment article in The Times with the Director of Cancer Research UK, Harpal Kumar.
  • We give evidence to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry: Brexit: regulation and standards (oral evidence).

2016

  • We give evidence to two House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiries: Leaving the EU: implications and opportunities for science and research (written and oral evidence), and EU regulation of the life sciences (written and oral evidence).
  • We give evidence to the House of Lords inquiry: The relationship between EU membership and the effectiveness of science, research and innovation in the UK (written and oral evidence). 

More information