Britannia’s cool science image sunk by Brexit

imagesubmarine2sinkingBritish scientists are losing grant money and will have to scale down operations and lay off staff thanks to the Brexit vote.

Seven national academies have called on the government to ensure that research is protected in Brexit negotiations and the President of the Royal Society has told the BBC that the future prosperity of the UK is at stake.

Annually, British universities receive £850 million in research grants each year from the European Union, but now British applicants for grants have been told to sling their electronic hooks.

Boffins are now being told that there are concerns from Euro partners that if UK scientists are involved in a project it could harm their chances in raising cash.

They are getting frozen out of big projects and European researchers in Europe are looking elsewhere to collaborate which means the British will not be around when big discoveries are made.

But the research problem is also extending to small high tech companies. The BBC found Archer Technicoat in High Wycombe, which develops bespoke coatings to toughen components for rocket thrusters for the European Space Agency.

Its managing director John Yeatman said that European funding has stopped after 30 years and interest from European partners for involving us in their projects has basically dried up.

Other researchers are packing their bags and setting up companies in Europe. Christopher Bovey was planning to set up a testing company, Herba Invest, in Totnes in Devon to help manufacturers of herbal products gain European Union regulatory approval.  Now he is setting it up in Spain.

Dr Pietro Cicuta, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, said the UK’s image was already tarnished in Europe, but it has now gone from “being cool to uncool in a day.”

Still at least we no longer have unelected officials from Europe telling us what to do, we just have Teresa May and Boris Johnson – what could possibly go wrong?