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Government delays over Brexit having ‘corrosive effect’ on science R&D, say Lords

Government delays in addressing the impact of Brexit on the UK’s science community is having a “corrosive effect” on research and development that could damage the economy in the long run, according to the findings of an inquiry by peers in the House of Lords.

In a report, ‘A time for boldness: EU membership and UK science after the referendum’, the Science and Technology Select Committee says it wants a chief scientific advisor to be appointed to the Department for International Trade to ensure that scientific expertise is available in future trade negotiations once the UK leaves the EU.

The peers also call on the government to actively persuade global scientific leaders to move to the UK with the promise of funding their research for a decade and a guarantee of financial support to allow their families to settle with them.

The report, which was published on 20 December 2016, also recommends that the government should create a new large-scale research facility, in partnership with research funders and other governments.

Ministers should also make good any financial losses to the UK’s science research and development budget caused by leaving the EU, according to the report, which follows the committee’s inquiry into the impact of Brexit on UK science.

The Earl of Selbourne — John Roundell Palmer — who chairs the committee, says it is “vital” that the UK is seen as still open to scientific talent.

“The government has the ability to send this message to the scientific community enabling us to become world leaders after Brexit and beyond,” he says.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20202119

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