Consultation response: Leaving the EU – implications and opportunities for science and research

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The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) welcomes the opportunity to submit written evidence to this inquiry by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, the deadline for which has been extended to Monday 22 August 2016.

The RCP supports the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) in their submission to this further call for evidence. However, the RCP would like to highlight the impact leaving the EU will have on academic medicine and research from the perspective of physicians.

Summary

  • Patients should be the first priority. The UK’s exit from the European Union must not impact patients’ ability to participate in high quality research, clinical trials and have access to innovative new technologies.
  • Clinicians are a vital part of the research community. Workforce and mobility are key concerns for the UK role as a global leader in research. Increasing pressure on the workforce, including unfilled positions, can decrease the time available to physicians for research purposes. Restrictions on the mobility of researchers and clinicians may add further pressures.
  • The UK is a significant recipient of funding from the EU for research purposes. The Treasury’s decision to underwrite Horizon 2020 funding is welcome but it is unclear how the UK would maintain its position as a world leader in research if it was excluded from accessing funding from Horizon 2020’s successor, Framework Programme 9, in addition to regional development funds, facilities and bursaries.
  • Harmonised legislation across Europe is an important part of the UK research sector and it would be valuable to ensure this continues as much as possible. However, there is the risk that the UK will lose its ability to influence future legislation, which has been a considerable benefit in the past.

Contact

For more information please contact Methela Haque, RCP public affairs adviser at methela.haque@rcplondon.ac.uk.