The European Research Area post-Brexit

A new report from Wellcome explores how the UK and EU can work together to ensure strong research collaboration post-Brexit.

Working with the Royal Society, Wellcome has spoken to more than 200 organisations and individuals from across Europe to explore how a research partnership model might be designed and supported. 

Wellcome sets out its reasons for Europe and the UK to ‘rise above’ politics.

The European Research Area (ERA) is the most effective of all cross-border funding collaborations in the world; Europe produces a third of the world’s scientific publications with just seven per cent of the global population.  Bringing associated countries closer in this network, potentially with new countries further afield such as Canada, would make the European Research Area even stronger, helping it capitalise on the strengths and talents of a wider group of nations.

Scientists and policy makers also stressed the importance of collaboration in science and ensuring that scientists can move easily between research institutions and countries, wherever they come from in the EU.

The report’s recommendations include: 

The EU and UK should accelerate and deepen development of the ERA, to help … capitalise on the strengths and talents of a wider group of nations

This would include:

  • developing more streamlined application processes to European funding schemes
  • lower barriers to movement for researchers in more countries
  • shared research regulations and policies 

The UK should secure Associated Country status in an excellence-focused Framework Programme 9 (FP9). This would be the best way to participate in European research

  • the UK and EU should be ‘pragmatic’ about the terms and cost of ensuring this access 

The EU and UK should continue to cooperate on pre-competitive research regulation

  • The EU and UK should agree on how to maintain the free flow of personal data for research 

A research and innovation agreement should promote dialogue on areas of research policy where the EU and UK can provide global leadership

  • building approaches to open research so that outputs and data can be shared as widely and usefully as possible
  • encouraging gender diversity to foster scientific excellence
  • supporting the development of early career researchers
  • delivering robust ethical reviews of research

The report is Building a Strong Future for European Science: Brexit and Beyond [PDF 641KB].