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No-deal Brexit ‘catastrophic’ for science and innovation in the UK

Seventy-two percent of chemistry professionals said that a no-deal Brexit would be “very negative” for the sector, survey finds…

A survey commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry has revealed the full extent of concerns in the sector about a no-deal Brexit.

Of the 5,800 chemistry professionals from across the UK, EU and beyond, 72 percent said that a no-deal Brexit would be “very negative” for the sector.

Only 4 percent thought a no-deal Brexit would have a positive impact.

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Tanya Sheridan, Policy and Evidence Manager at the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “While parliament has voted against leaving the EU without a deal, the government now has only 15 days to make this a reality and avoid crashing out. It is absolutely crucial for the chemical sciences and the hundreds of thousands working in industry and academia who feel they are being hung out to dry over this uncertainty.”

Key concerns raised by survey respondents, including those based in the UK, were access to international facilities, international collaborative networks, funding for fundamental, curiosity-driven research and easy movement for skilled scientists. 

“It is vital the government ensures a good deal for science and innovation that supports jobs and allows both academia and industry to maintain the UK’s world-leading position. No-deal is not an option for the chemical sciences,” said Sheridan.

Chemistry is worth £50bn to the UK economy, but a Bank of England report last year said the sector’s output would drop by 35 percent – the equivalent of a hit of £17.5bn to the economy. This would make it one of the hardest hit sectors by a no-deal scenario.

“For 72 percent of respondents to say a no-deal Brexit would be ‘very negative’ should be a sobering reminder for government about the potential impacts this could have on UK science and innovation,” said Sheridan.

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