On 31 January 2020, the UK formally left the European Union, entering a transition period that will run until 31 December 2020. This represents one of the most profound changes to the medical research sector in living memory.
Since the referendum result, the Academy has been working closely with the UK Government, EU counterparts and the wider research community to secure the best possible outcome for biomedical research from Brexit. As the UK now negotiates its future relationship with the EU, the Academy is committed to continuing this work and remaining a reliable and willing partner in the wider European research endeavour.
This must include safeguarding the people who conduct research and, importantly, the patients who benefit from advances in understanding and new treatments. It remains a high priority for the Academy to ensure that the voice of UK medical science is heard by all parties.
A selection of our activities are provided below.
The Academy has outlined our positions on Brexit in a number of published statements and letters.
Starting a new chapter for UK research
- Immediately prior to the UK's departure from the EU, the Academy's President Professor Sir Robert Lechler took a look forward and found reasons to be hopeful.
- The Academy also supported a statement alongside a total of 36 major domestic and European organisations asking governments and the European Commission to ensure a swift agreement on the UK’s full association to Horizon Europe before the end of 2020.
Letters to Government
- The President wrote to the Prime Minister on 18 December 2019 outlining the Academy's priorities for the next Parliament, including association to Horizon Europe.
Correspondence with Fellows
- The President wrote to all Fellows in January 2019 to outline the Academy's activities to ensure science and research is prioritised and protected as the UK leaves the EU.
- In March 2018, the President wrote to all Fellows outlining the Academy's priorities for Brexit and how we are working to ensure that these are prioritised during the negotitaions. This letter is also available as a blog on out website.
Statements on the impact of a "no-deal" Brexit on medical research
This report, jointly commissioned from the Technopolis Group by the UK’s four national academies – the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society – explores exactly where EU funding goes, what kind of activities it supports and what other investment it attracts.
This work also commissioned a separate set of stand alone case studies which supplement the report and provide additional detail on particular funding streams, activities and regional support.
This report, commissioned by the eight leading UK medical organisations, highlights how the UK’s contribution to research throughout the EU has fostered and strengthened scientific co-operation. The executive summary can be found online here.
A series of eight case studies detailing specific aspects of the UK’s contribution to EU science and health is also available.
This report commissioned by the Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and Royal Society, presents the findings of a survey of 1,286 of the UK’s leading researchers (consisting of 762 Fellows and 524 grant recipients across the four national academies) to find out about the importance of international collaboration and mobility.
The Academy has responded to numerous inquiries and consultations on the impact of Brexit on medical research and patients. A selection of these are provided below. All Academy submissions are available on our publications page
- The Academy submitted written evidence to the Sir Adrian Smith Review future on frameworks for international collaboration on research and innovation.
- The Academy submitted written evidence to the Science and Technology Select Committee's Brexit, Science and Innovation: Preparations for a "no-deal" inquiry.
- The Academy of Medical Sciences hosted a discussion meeting with Pascal Lamy, Chair of the High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes.
- In February 2018, the Academy's Treasurer Professor Anne Dell gave evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Brexit Summit. Professor Dell highlighted the impacts of leaving the EU on the regulation of biomedical research. The Academy's written response to this inquiry is available on our website.
- Submitting evidence to the Health Committee on Brexit – medicines, medical devices and substances of human origin inquiry and the BEIS Committee on Brexit and implications for UK business: Pharmaceuticals.
- Submitting evidence to the Commons Exiting the EU Select Committee inquiry into 'UK's negotiating objectives for withdrawal from EU inquiry' in January 2017.
- Jointly submitting evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Committee inquiry into 'Immigration' in January 2017.
The Academy has consitently raised the most critical issues to UK and EU collaboration in medical research, namely: people, pounds (funding), partnerships and permissions (regulation) in our engagement with with politicians and officials from the UK and the European Union. We have reinforced these messages at meetings with UK Science and Health Ministers, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Pascal Lamy, the Commission’s chief adviser on maximising the impact of EU research and innovation, and Robert-Jan Smits, the Commission’s former Director General for Research.
High Level Group on EU exit
The President continues to represent the Academy of Medical Sciences on the Science Minister’s High Level Group on EU Exit. This group has informed the UK Government’s position on research and innovation, including its commitment to explore association to the EU programmes that support research and innovation, Horizon 2020 and its successor Horizon Europe. Through this group and elsewhere, we continue to advocate for the importance of translating this commitment into a meaningful association agreement.