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'Damaging for Science'

The specter of Brexit has already had a "chilling effect on [the] flow of talent to the UK," writes Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust, in an opinion piece appearing in The Times.

Since the referendum last year, Farrar says the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute has experienced a nearly 50 percent decrease in the number of PhD applications from non-British EU nationals. He argues that foreign researchers need to be welcomed to the UK. "This is not because there is any shortage of home-grown scientists — but because the arrival of people with new ideas and fresh thinking lifts standards," Farrar writes.

In his piece, Farrar also notes that 18 percent of research funding in the UK is from European sources. Because of this, he calls for the UK to pay into EU funding schemes, much as Switzerland does, so that British researchers can continue to benefit from such programs. He also says that to ensure UK pharmaceutical and other companies have access to European markets, there need to be harmonized regulations across the UK and EU.

"It is clear that a disorderly 'no deal' Brexit could be damaging for science, and for the health and competitiveness that it enhances," he writes. "It is also clear that if the government cannot easily negotiate a bespoke solution to these challenges, it could achieve the objectives above through membership of the European Economic Area at the end of the Article 50 process."