Failure to reach a deal could threaten funding and international partnerships

A group of the world’s top scientists have warned of the damage a no-deal Brexit could have for the future of research in an appeal to the UK prime minister.

Twenty-nine Nobel laureates and nine Fields Medal winners, including Royal Society president Venki Ramakrishnan, signed an open letter to Theresa May urging her to avoid ‘creating new barriers’ in Brexit negotiations, citing funding and freedom of movement as their top concerns.

A Brexit deal on science is urgently needed, they say, to ensure scientists can continue to address and tackle global issues through collaborative research – something that will only come from ‘the flow of people and ideas across borders to allow the rapid exchange of ideas, expertise and technology’.

The letter also highlights the need to ensure continued funding and grants for researchers, as well as international cooperation in EU research and innovation programmes. It warns that not securing a deal for Brexit would be ‘to the detriment of us all’.

The same letter was also sent to the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

It comes after a recent survey from the Francis Crick Institute, UK, revealed that many of its scientists – both British and European – are considering leaving the UK after Brexit.