Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by Andrew Holmes, President of the Australian Academy of Science, Laureate Professor Emeritus, University of Melbourne
image

Nobody can yet predict exactly what the ramifications will be now the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union but UK science commentators are already foreshadowing Brexit Mark 2 – a Brain Exit of researchers.

Brexit has created incredible uncertainty. The potential disruption that it may cause to the many international collaborative research programs involving the UK is something the international scientific community could certainly have done without.

Whatever form the Brexit negotiations take, and however long the timeline, the disruption is real. It will be more so if Brexit causes still wider political and economic instability.

Aftershocks in Australia

There will likely be some aftershocks felt here too for some considerable time given the extent that Australian researchers engage in collaborative programs with both the UK and the rest of Europe.

Firstly some facts. UK researchers are among the most internationally collaborative in the world. Around 60% of the roughly 120,000 research articles published each year by UK-based authors are co-authored with international collaborators. More than half of these are in the EU.

According to the 2013 report on International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base, more than 70% of UK researchers working between 1996 and 2012 published papers while affiliated with non-UK institutions.

Unsurprisingly, the more internationally collaborative researchers are significantly more productive than those researchers who stayed at home and were more inwardly focused.

About 28% of academic staff in UK universities are non-UK citizens. Again, more than half of these are from the EU.

If, as has been suggested, the UK ramps up restrictions on mobility and work entitlements, it is possible that many of these researchers will choose or be forced to leave.

Until now, Britain has been a very significant net beneficiary of EU research funds. It received an estimated €8.8 billion funding between 2007-2013 on the strength of an estimated €5.4 billion contribution. This made it the second most successful nation behind Germany.

Looking forward, it is estimated that UK research could be £1 billion worse off each year as a consequence of the decision to leave the EU.

Beyond the horizon

The most significant impact could potentially be felt by research programs funded through the Horizon 2020 program.

This 30-year collaborative research and innovation framework is by far the largest research funding mechanism in Europe, and one of the largest in the world. In the current funding cycle that runs from 2014-2020, an estimated €80 billion funding would flow to researchers in EU member states and associated nations.

While some non-EU members have negotiated eligibility to apply for Horizon 2020 funding, eligibility is conditional upon the free movement of people. In the UK’s case, continued access to the Horizon 2020 program may need negotiation.

Australia may participate in Horizon 2020 projects as a non-associated industrialised third country. But projects are not automatically eligible for funding. Accordingly, much of Australia’s access to European research and research funding is leveraged through collaborations in the UK.

Potential benefits for Australia

We should also note that there are large numbers of research students from EU member nations studying in the UK, a significant proportion of the research workforce. There are concerns that these students might now be categorised as “international” students and face significant fee increases to study in the UK.

If this does take place and the UK does become a more expensive destination for European research students, it is likely that higher education institutions in Australia, the United States and Canada will all benefit as alternative English-language study options for European students.

There are strong natural links between Australia and the UK. It is possible that the UK decision to leave Europe may actually provide new opportunities for Australian researchers.

The UK will now be potentially more open to the rest of the world. Having the UK as part of the EU has often meant that there was preferential access to positions, resources, collaborations and so on for those who were part of the EU. The lifting of that restriction may well provide new opportunities for Australia.

The Australian Academy of Science is recommending the expansion of Australia’s bilateral and multilateral collaborations with a variety of partner countries in regions including Asia, East Asia, the Americas and the EU.

Authors: Andrew Holmes, President of the Australian Academy of Science, Laureate Professor Emeritus, University of Melbourne

Read more http://theconversation.com/what-now-for-australian-research-in-a-post-brexit-world-61793

Writers Wanted

Dog Ownership & Mental Health in Children: 3 Ways Canines Develop A Child's Mind

arrow_forward

4 Reasons Why You Should Try Hypnotherapy

arrow_forward

Guide to Shipping Container Hire

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Business News

Guide to Shipping Container Hire

If you are thinking of hiring a shipping container rather than purchasing one, there are many great reasons to do so. It is a more affordable option and when you are done using it for what you neede...

News Co - avatar News Co

Top 5 US Logistics Companies

Nothing is more annoying than having to deal with unreliable shipping companies for your fragile and important packages. Other than providing the best customer service, a logistics company also ne...

News Co - avatar News Co

Luke Lazarus Helps Turns Startups into Global Stalwarts

There are many positive aspects to globalization. It is no secret that those who have been impacted by globalization tend to enjoy a higher standard of living in general. One factor that has led to ...

Emma Davidson - avatar Emma Davidson



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion