Brexit report calls to place UK as global innovation hub

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A new report on Brexit has been published by advocacy group, Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), with questions on policy from the science and engineering sector.

The report regards key policy questions on areas including people, funding and regulation and is the third and final policy review published by CaSE this spring. It includes recommendations for the government regarding Brexit and the science and engineering community.

Speaking about the review CaSE executive director Dr Sarah Main said: "Science is a success story in our relationship with the EU. But Brexit uncertainty is beginning to bite.

In our comprehensive survey of the sector, research organisations report falls in application rates from EU nationals and candidates turning down prestigious research positions citing Brexit uncertainty as a key factor.

Science is a significant and successful feature of the UK-EU relationship. It is critical that the government acts swiftly to secure the good will on both sides of the channel for an ambitious agreement on research and innovation. We want to see UK participation in EU research programmes, frictionless movement of science and engineering professionals, and harmonisation of regulation with the ability to influence.

In addition, the government can take decisive action to unleash UK science and engineering potential. To do this, government should promote the UK as a global research and innovation hub with an international engagement strategy and a visa regime to match; transform recruitment and retention of science teachers; set a course to increase UK public investment in R&D to 0.7% of GDP by 2022; and prepare to lead the world in innovative, ethical regulation of rapidly evolving areas of science.

These actions will send a signal that the UK is intent on remaining a global leader and partner of choice in science and innovation."

The report draws on public data, statements and consultations with CaSE member organisations from across the science and engineering industries.

The CaSE makes a series of recommendations that fall under two headings - to secure an ambitious agreement on research and innovation with the EU and to coordinate government efforts to unleash UK science and engineering potential.

For research and innovation with the EU, the report asks for reciprocal frictionless movement for science and engineering professionals; to secure full UK participation in Framework Programme 9; prioritise stability and harmonisation of regulation in established areas and to seek influence on regulation that impacts on UK science and engineering.

More so, the report asks for a coordinated effort to benefit UK science and engineering, including radical action to deliver diversity in STEM; transform recruitment and retention of teachers; equip providers with sustainable resources to deliver high-quality STEM education; abolish the Tier 2 (General) cap; permit research activity overseas in indefinite leave to remain rules; promote the UK as a place to learn, earn and contribute; create an immigration system that supports the retention, access and movement of those who lead, undertake and support research and innovation; assess and mitigate impact of likely EU funding changes; increase public investment in R&D to 0.7% of GDP by 2022; create a cross-government international research and innovation strategy; lead the world in regulation of emerging areas of science and innovation and access and use scientific and technical expertise and advice.

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