back to article Want a Brexit? Promise you'll sort out UK universities' £1bn research cash loss

Leaving the EU could mean UK universities lose a whopping £1bn research funding, according to report released by Digital Science today. Academics have already warned the UK that leaving the EU would hinder research. A letter to The Times was signed by more than 150 fellows from the Royal Society - including Stephen Hawking - …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just Uni's. Government spend on the Research Councils is pitiful

  2. davenewman

    Non EU members cannot lead projects

    Organisations in countries outside the EU cannot lead Framework funded projects or put together a team and a proposal. They are brought in by an organisation inside the EU.

    So if the UK leaves, we won't be able to design new interdisciplinary projects and bring in others. We will have to wait for someone in Germany, France or Sweden to decide they really, really need the skills of someone in the UK.

    1. SundogUK

      Re: Non EU members cannot lead projects

      Well that really seems to have hurt the US...

      1. Mike Taylor

        Re: Non EU members cannot lead projects

        One place where it will sting - and sting hard - is when we (those of us who work in academic infrastructure projects) are looking for partners. The US will continue partnering with the EU countries, and we'll be positioned somewhere near the BRIC countries in terms of priorities. And we'll still have to adopt those standards to remain interoperable and build the open science infrastructure.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Non EU members cannot lead projects

        "Well that really seems to have hurt the US...". I think you left out China. But seriously I find it a bit silly when Brits want to compare Britain to the USA. We live in the post WW2 era after all. The EU can compare itself with the USA in some respects, 28 divers states to 50 and so forth. What annoys me is that some of the "Trump rhetoric" has entered the Brexit discussions. I can understand Boris motives but that's about it. Don't let your "groin feelings" command your brains. Up the ante, take part, you have a lot of friends in the EU. I have a feeling young Brits live more in "to day" than in the past, but we shall see.

        And for gods sake the EU has no power to take your "pound" from you. Swedes and Danes will keep their currency as long as they find it an advantage. Perhaps the EU should be explained as a Golf Club, you pay to become a member, if not you cannot have the same advantages as a member.

  3. itzman

    The answer is...

    ..that the UK is not a net beneficiary of EU funds. Ergo it could afford to replace all EU funding with direct funding by the UK government on leaving, out of the money saved by not propping up Eurocrats and Eastern European failed states.

    In the end what counts is the funding, not the tortuous route it has to take from taxpayer to UK government to EU government to largesses that buys EU loyalty, all with a whopping commission deducted at every stage.

    If you want to see UK research well funded, why not vote brexit, vote for lower taxes and leave your estate to a university?

    That way you cut out the greasy political middle men altogether.

    The nearest thing to democracy that exists is the debit card, the internet, and the right to keep what money you earn and spend it on what you, not some political bureaucracies, choose.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: The answer is...

      the right to keep what money you earn and spend it on what you, not some political bureaucracies, choose

      Your "right" to keep what you earn is essentially dependent on those who work at least as hard as you, but earning less, being gracious enough not to tear it from your twitching corpse.

      If we abolished political bureaucracies and relied instead on the good sense of the wealthy, investment would be concentrated in pockets of power and patronage and would simply be dissipated in asset inflation and the acquisition of personal adornments and recreational drugs, to the ultimate deteriment of other parts of the country and public services. Oh, hang on, that's how it is now, isn't it. Where's my pitchfork?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The answer is...

      Trouble is this is only true IF and its a BIG if our government decides to fund science properly. If we look at history we find that they DON'T We have the lowest level of government funding for science is the G7! So UK governments record on funding of science is shit! So why would this change if we had BREXIT?

      I've had a similar argument with people down here in sunny Cornwall (quite Eurosceptic despite Cornwall getting loads of cash from the EU) The same argument is put forward, well we give the EU more than we get back. Yep we do but do I think the UK government will give Cornwall cash to make up for the shortfall, do I feck! Government investment in the SW is pathetic compared to other areas of the UK, and Cornwall and Devon even more so!

      1. oceanhippie

        Re: The answer is...

        Post Brexit the government could fund, but probably will cancel the funding and use it to give tax cuts to the rich.

        1. Unep Eurobats

          Re: The answer is...

          Actually the problem is that the putative "money saved by not propping up Eurocrats" has already been fancifully earmarked by the Brexiteers for saving the NHS, strengthening the UK's borders, extricating ourselves from the laws imposed by Brussels, helping the farmers facing destitution by the removal of European agricultural subsidies, negotiating trade deals with the rest of the world and many other wishes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The answer is...

            Something like a third of the nett gain we would get from leaving the EU will need to be spent on replacing the current pay-money-to-landowners scheme - there are a significant number of large estate owners amongst those running the Brexit campaign(*) I had heard that some of them may even be resident in the UK for tax purposes, but thats probably just a rumour.

            (*) and Americans, of course

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: The answer is...

      £1bn is apparently three weeks' EU funding so it wouldn't be too hard, but in light of the BBC and the NHS, I don't believe the Eton mafia will actually fund it though.

    4. Dimitri

      Re: The answer is...

      Or, you could, you know, leave your estate to your children.

      Creating wealth is hard work. I'll wager you don;t get out of bed in the morning and go the extra mile to save and invest in order to finance research one day (kudos to you if you do, but I doubt it).

      People who write this type of nonsense, usually have very little experience in creating wealth.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: The answer is...

        I'm not good at creating wealth. But I'm really good at creating losses. Huge fucking losses. Can I still comment?

      2. strum

        Re: The answer is...

        >Creating wealth is hard work.

        Yes - a lot of people have to work really hard to make a few people wealthy.

    5. Ian Bush

      Re: The answer is...

      "..that the UK is not a net beneficiary of EU funds. Ergo it could afford to replace all EU funding with direct funding by the UK government on leaving, out of the money saved by not propping up Eurocrats and Eastern European failed states",

      assuming the pie stays at least the same size post-BRExit as it is currently

    6. strum

      Re: The answer is...

      >The nearest thing to democracy that exists is the debit card, the internet, and the right to keep what money you earn and spend it on what you, not some political bureaucracies, choose.

      For brain-dead definitions of democracy, perhaps. What you're describing is plutocracy.

    7. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: The answer is...

      Come on. There is still no such thing as free lunch. Do you seriously believe that the sort of neo-Con government we'd be likely to have while coping with a post-Brexit recession would compensate the R&D community 100% for the loss of EU R&D money? On the contrary, it would be one of the easiest cuts when launching the post-Brexit austerity regime.

      I find the Brexit arguments are getting sillier and sillier as voting day approaches.

  4. s. pam
    Megaphone

    Yee haw, more hysterical non-news

    Look, let's not deteriorate the Register to sub-Daily Fail levels. There may be changes in available funds, there will be new sources as no one's going to let the Universities fall down. Furthermore, the fact the universities are now glomming in cash from students means the universities need to become smarter, and more efficient in how they use their cash. Just because Brussels is filled with 5-D fuckwits throwing money everywhere doesn't mean all research is valid, or should be funded. More real-world insight and review should occur, just like in a start-up.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Mike Taylor

      Re: The report is here

      Stupidly, a word got cut of the URL

      https://www.digital-science.com/resources/digital-research-report-examining-implications-of-brexit-for-the-uk-research-base/

  6. TRT Silver badge

    I have to say...

    I agree with Ridley. If there is such value in it, then a way around will be found. And perhaps opening up the woeful way business and government in the UK treats science research is going to be a good thing. The emphasis on translational research to the exclusion of all else is just nuts. Then there's this EU data repository business - dubious at best.

    On top of that, there's the whole overseas student draw. With the volume of students enjoying completely visa-free trans-european study, the government has restricted the ability of non-EU students to come here. I know this from personal experience - you need to show you have £20k in the bank and a firm offer of a course at a named and registered institution before you get a visa. Then there's a 20-hr a week restriction on employment whilst studying - with London rents, these can be very hard working people living in the cheapest accommodation possible, usually illegal dives, travelling long distances to London universities, virtually living in the LRCs. It's not a pretty way to live at all. And at the end of it, very little prospect of UK employment.

    Interesting times.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: I have to say...

      "If there is such value in it, then a way around will be found."

      No, not when the country is too broke to pay for it. And even super-rich Switzerland, which Ridley cited, took about 20 years to get its participation in EU R&D projects properly sorted out and funded.

  7. Tony S

    Call me Mr Cynical

    “For me, in the end, it’s all about innovation. The European Union is bad at doing it, good at discouraging it, repeatedly sides with those who have vested interests in resisting it, and holds Britain back from achieving it.

    Replace "European Union" with the name of any government, politician or civil servant. The statement still holds true.

    As for expecting the private sector to increase their funding; sorry, but that's a pipe dream, unless there is a definite incentive for them to do so (such as tax credits or similar).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Call me Mr Cynical

      Replace "European Union" with the name of any government, politician or civil servant. The statement still holds true.

      Which is precisely why the UK should leave the EU. One layer of government is bad enough!

  8. WibbleMe

    1B in nothing if you look at what other western countries throw at R&D we should be outraged at such a small ammount

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      >1B in nothing if you look at what other western countries throw at R&D we should be outraged at such a small ammount

      And we should also ask where the EU got the 1Bn they were going to give us.

  9. lukewarmdog

    Well..

    Won't somebody think of all the unemployed scientists and engineers, forced to clean the empty universities using unwanted yet super advanced chemicals and those not-hoover things everyone now has. Also all that non-self cutting grass that surrounds universities will need keeping in check. Maybe ex-student farmers can manually start growing crops on the abandoned sports fields.

    Leaving the EU might affect some of the paperwork and channels but this isn't going to affect universities bringing in money. Businesses the other side of the EU paywall will still want to reap the rewards of research done in this country after we leave.

    Will we have to stop using CERN? Will the internet stop at Ireland? Will we finally be able to sell arms to Iraq? Will we able to prevent Cameron getting back into Britain next time he goes on holiday during a crisis?

  10. Mark Exclamation

    So, from where did research and the universities get there funding before we became a member of the EU? There is, actually, life after the EU, and indeed before it.

  11. Mag07

    "Fifteen non-EU countries including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland still receive public funding. In fact, they are the top three countries that have the greatest funding per head of population from the biggest EU funding programme," Of course they do; they have tiny populations.....Somewhat scary that the man can't make the association :)

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