On January 31st, 2020, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland became the first state ever to leave the European Union. This unique event, as sad as it may seem, is not only the end of an era, but also a time to begin development of a vibrant renewed relationship.
EuroScience believes that science is a global endeavour and that the UK will always be part of the European research environment, regardless of its membership in the European Union. We believe that close and dynamic collaboration in research between the UK and the EU is indispensable for scientific excellence and for addressing the future challenges affecting the entire European continent and the world.
International collaboration makes science stronger, and the uncertainty surrounding the future relationship between the EU and the UK is therefore a source of concern. It is of utmost importance to find solutions to avoid disrupting current scientific collaboration and to provide a framework for a robust future relationship.
In the weeks to come, the UK and the EU will decide on their priorities for the upcoming negotiations during the transition period. To keep European science strong, mechanisms for collaborative research and innovation, as well as facilitated geographic mobility for researchers and other science professionals between the EU and the UK, must be a top priority and a deal for future scientific cooperation must be found as quickly as possible.
To ensure that a deal can be struck, all scientific communities in both the UK and the EU must be ready to respond quickly and strongly. Only when scientists in all of Europe speak together, will we be heard by policy makers on both sides of the negotiation table. That is why EuroScience, together with the Wellcome Trust and EU-LIFE, launched the #dealforscience petition, already signed by thousands of researchers and research organisations across Europe.
We urge all EuroScience members wherever they may be, including our many active members living and working in the UK, whether they be UK or EU nationals, or of any other nationality, to sign the petition, in order to make the voice of research heard and to express our desire to continue working together on the quality of science and on the major global challenges before us.
International scientific cooperation is more important and necessary than ever. Brexit must not lead to the establishment of new barriers to research collaboration but rather to the construction of new bridges for long-lasting and fruitful scientific partnerships across the entire European continent.