The chairwoman of the Wellcome Trust, the UKs biggest charitable funder of scientific research, has written to Boris Johnson claiming that a no-deal Brexit is a “threat” to the science sector.
Lady Eliza Manningham-Buller has backed Johnsons vision for the science industry, but warned against the potential damage leaving the EU without a deal could do.
She also asked that he up investment to German levels and ensure any immigration policies are “more welcoming” to top scientists, according to a letter seen by the BBC.
The Trust is responsible for £1bn of funding a year and is key to Johnsons idea of the UK being a “science superpower”.
“While we do collaborative work of course with the US and areas outside Europe, Australia, Singapore, other countries – and those matter – the vast bulk of the collaborations are with Europe,” Manningham-Buller said.
“And if we amputate them, or make those collaborations difficult or harder to do – we will be the loser.”
She highlighted the 50 per cent decrease in European Union applications to study at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, which has a history of ground-breaking discoveries.
She also addressed the no-deal Brexit issue in a letter to the Prime Minister, saying: “Wellcome spends around £1bn a year to support research, and most of our money is spent in the UK because it has a thriving sector.
“Leaving the EU without a deal is a threat to that. I am afraid that some damage has already been done, with loss of researchers, and influence,” she wrote.
A former director general at MI5, Manningham-Buller said Brexit offered an opportunity for the UK to set global standards in emerging technologies, but cautioned that a no-deal Brexit was not conducive to that.
“We have an opportunity to build the science base here, to spend the sort of money our competitors are doing, to do a whole range of things,” she told the BBC.
“But we are at a tipping point. If we dont do some of those things, if we make the UK unfriendly to scientists overseas, the damage that has already been Read More – Source