Brexit: Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration - Motion to Take Note (1st Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:01 pm on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Lord Krebs Lord Krebs Crossbench 4:01 pm, 5th December 2018

I agree that it is an extraordinary decision but, as I am saying, it reflects the difficulty of the future negotiations. This outcome undermines the Prime Minister’s hope that the UK,

“would like the option to fully associate ourselves with the excellence-based European science and innovation programmes—including the successor to Horizon 2020 and Euratom”.

Galileo is only one example of how our science and technology could suffer in future. In a recent survey of 1,000 staff at the Francis Crick Institute, Europe’s largest biomedical research institute, scientists were overwhelmingly negative about the consequences of Brexit for UK science. On 23 October, 29 Nobel prize winners and six Fields medallists—the maths equivalent of a Nobel—wrote to the Prime Minister expressing their deep concerns. The deal simply does not do enough to reassure the scientific community.

In my own university, Oxford, roughly 12% of research funding comes from the EU, and there is no guarantee that in future we will be able to participate in the schemes that follow on from Horizon 2020. In the European Research Council funding programme, which is based on scientific excellence, the UK is far and away the most successful country in the EU, and the top three institutions in the EU for receiving funds under this scheme are Cambridge, Oxford and UCL.