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Editorial Snapshot: Scientists brace for Brexit

– G.A., Senior Editor

Following the results of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum in 2016, the United Kingdom has been on a slow and unclear path to exit from the European Union. Given the long history and close ties between the United Kingdom and the other member countries of the European Union, it is not surprising that a clear path forward has yet to be decided. To ensure a smooth exit, concerns about immigration, trade, and defense must be addressed. However, scientists are also raising the alarm about the impact of Brexit on research in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom has a long history of scientific discovery and is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world. However, some researchers are worried about how research funding will be affected by Brexit. If no arrangements with research funding agencies are decided before Brexit, researchers in the United Kingdom may be left out of billions of euro in grants. Some institutions even worry that immigration issues will make talented scientists from the European Union less likely to accept positions at institutions in the United Kingdom post-Brexit.

Perhaps, given the complexity of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, holding a referendum asking only “leave” or “remain” forced the United Kingdom into a situation in which the legitimate concerns about membership in the European Union cannot be dealt with in the delicate manner they require. However, given that Brexit was decided by a referendum, it is now the responsibility of all members of the public, from senators to scientists, to ensure that their institutions are prepared for a new reality.

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