Much depends on what sort of deal the UK government can get moving forward.
We get large chunks of money from the EU from various research programmes. We do extremely well out of this because the research we are doing is first rate.
The key question is whether the governments in Westminster and in Holyrood will be able to compensate for any such loss.
I am pessimistic both about whether the money will still flow in from the EU and whether any shortfall will be replaced within the UK.
Lots of valuable collaborations between the UK and the EU could also disappear, and it will probably get a lot harder to attract top scientists from abroad to come and work here. Suppose we need a world-class Italian scientist to come and work in a Scottish lab. How easy will it be for such people to get the visa they need? I can’t see any positives coming out of this.
The very notion of pulling up national drawbridges goes against all the principles of science, as it is by its very nature an international field.
The more open and easy it is for our scientists to work in other places and for scientists from other countries to come to work here, the better our research will be. And if that is threatened, we will all be the losers.
- Professor Hugh Pennington is Emeritus professor of Bacteriology at Aberdeen University