Campaign welcomes Metcalfe ‘science priorities for Brexit’

21 March 2017

The Campaign for Social Science warmly welcomes the statement made today by Stephen Metcalfe MP, Chair of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, outlining the ‘Science priorities for Brexit’. The statement identifies some key steps the UK Government must take if the UK is to remain a global leader in research in the future.

A wide range of bodies within the UK research and innovation community, including the Campaign for Social Science, raised issues for Mr Metcalfe to consider. We are heartened that Mr. Metcalfe has taken on board many of the concerns that we, and others, have raised with him. We are impressed by his commitment to and understanding of the environment that will be necessary for the continued health and vitality of the UK research community. This includes priorities both for negotiations as the UK seeks to withdraw from the European Union, and for the domestic policies that will be required post-Brexit.

The Campaign for Social Science agrees with Mr. Metcalfe about the importance of international research staff and international collaboration to UK research excellence. His statement specifically calls for the UK Government to take urgent and important actions to support these needs, steps that we have advocated since the June 2016 Referendum. These include the development of immigration policies that will allow UK businesses and universities to be able to “recruit and retain” international staff with much-needed skills after Brexit. It also includes giving priority within the Brexit negotiations to the UK’s continued participation in Horizon 2020 and “the closest possible association” with future EU research programmes.

We are also pleased the statement recognises the need to maintain “overall public funding for UK science and innovation across all disciplines” in the years ahead. Like the STEM disciplines, the social sciences contribute greatly to UK growth and prosperity, and understanding how societies and markets change and grow will arguably be more important than ever in the future. All disciplines will need to work together if we are to be best prepared to meet the challenges ahead.

Read more about our involvement in Research Fortnight’s coverage of the statement.