New UK Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to assuage researchers' worries about Brexit, New Scientist reports. In a referendum last month, the UK voted to leave the European Union, a decision that left many researchers wondering about the ramifications for research and development.
In a letter dated a few days after she took office, May wrote to the Royal Society and Paul Nurse, its former president, to reiterate the government's commitment to science. "I would like to reassure you about the Government's commitment to ensuring a positive outcome for UK science as we exit the European Union," she writes.
She also adds that the decision to move the science portfolio under the auspices of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shouldn't be taken to "signal any reduction in the very high priority I attach to both teaching and research."
The current Royal Society president, Venki Ramakrishnan, tells New Scientist that this "positive commitment to science is very encouraging."
But, the magazine notes that others aren't as heartened. Mike Galsworthy from the Scientists for EU group says the acknowledgement is good, but not enough. "Post Brexit vote data indicate that we are already dropping in attractiveness to foreign talent. … We need a real plan urgently," he adds.