Brexit and research, the keys to how it will affect our future

Brexit and research, the keys to how it will affect our future

The news of the month and even of the year has arrived this week with the referendum on the European Union in United KingdomSo let’s talk about the relationship Brexit and research and the changes we can expect

To start with, we need to clarify a couple of things that sometimes seem to be forgotten, such as that the referendum is not binding or that leaving the EU does not mean losing all privileges. Specifically, as we will see now, there are many aspects that will not be affected by Brexit automatically and others that will not in any case. In this respect the General Director of CERNFabiola Gianotti can help us a lot to understand it.

After knowing the results, the CERN DG has sent a statement via email to all the workers of said research center clarifying the organization’s position regarding Brexit and the consequences that this will have in the short and medium term. We are going to take this opportunity to review what will happen with the largest physics laboratory in the world and with the rest of international research centers.

Brexit and research at CERN, a concrete example

The letter that Fabiola Gianotti has sent to her workers is divided into two equally interesting parts; the first as a reflection on the results of the referendum and a second part on the consequences that the possible exit has in a practical way. The most curious thing about the letter is the contrast between a first part that laments the estrangement of a country as important as the United Kingdom, with a second part that can be summed up in that everything remains practically the same.

The truth is that CERN is an international institution It deals directly with member and associated countries and therefore does not directly suffer the consequences of bad relations between countries. Although he receives EU funding and part of the scholarships available to work in that organization are purely due to the EU, it remains to be determined under what conditions the United Kingdom will leave; and therein really lies the answer.

How to affect Brexit in the future

For the rest of the research centers, the result is similar because they generally work with agreements between institutes or universities, not across the EU, so the changes should not be drastic, although there will be. EU scholarships, like Erasmus, are likely to disappear, but Norway is not the EU and has Erasmus bread. Things, this time more than ever, are not black or white, but gray.

What really worries is that these changes that may occur will suppose a step back in international collaboration, something so important today for the scientific community. But there is always hope and until the UK makes its exit effective we can only speculate on what will happen. In short, it is sad news that we can only hope that it will have the least possible effect and make us think about the importance of international collaboration.

And in the end all this is what perfectly summarizes the general feeling of the population regarding the Brexit, things do not have to change substantially and even all this can help us rethink the principles of the EU and build a better pan-European agreement; it doesn’t have to be bad necessarily. However, and this is what bothers and worries us all, the departure of the United Kingdom from the EU is a step back in a world that tends to connect, to build bridges between passes; Maybe Brexit is not bad at all, but the message it sends to the world is.

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