Report summary

Building a strong future for European science: Brexit and beyond

Brexit presents the UK and EU with choices about their future relationship on research and innovation. This report sets out Wellcome’s recommendations on a new EU-UK research partnership and how it could be delivered. It is based on the views of European and UK experts.

Key findings 

  • The EU and UK should maintain their important partnership on research and innovation after Brexit. 
  • Cooperation through the EU Framework Programmes is the best way to maintain this partnership, but cooperation is also needed on regulation, research policy and the movement of people.
  • To achieve this, the report recommends that the following key issues for research and innovation are included in EU-UK trade deal, or in a stand-alone research agreement:
    • securing UK Associated Country status in the Ninth EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP9)
    • cooperation on pre-competitive research regulation, including maintaining the free flow of personal data for research and participation in the EU’s clinical trials system
    • promoting dialogue on areas of research policy where the EU and UK can provide global leadership, for example on open research
    • supporting full researcher mobility between the European Economic Area (EEA) and UK – expanding the current UK visa system for non-EEA nationals is not good enough.
  • European countries should work together to secure the region’s position as a world leader in science by strengthening the European Research Area (ERA).

European science is a huge success story. A badly handled Brexit risks damaging British – and European – science. But with the right agreement, it’s possible we could maintain and even improve scientific collaboration with our European neighbours.

Eliza Manningham-Buller, Chair of Wellcome


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