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Waiting to See

Researchers in Britain are feeling unsettled following the UK's vote in June to leave the European Union, the Associated Press reports.

Joanna Bagniewska, a Polish biologist, moved to the UK 10 years ago to pursue an academic career, and she tells the AP that her prospects are now uncertain. "I'm worried that after my current contract finishes, one of the prerequisites could be a permanent residence card," she says. "I'd like to apply for EU grant money, but how much longer will it be available for?"

It's not just foreign researchers in the UK that are awaiting the fallout of the vote, but also British scientists, the AP notes. Some UK researchers say they have been left off of EU grant applications because their colleagues worried that a UK presence on the grant would harm its chances. Others say that foreign researchers they'd recruited to join their labs were reconsidering coming to the UK.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to spend £2 billion (US $2.5 billion) a year on scientific research to compensate to the loss of EU funding post-Brexit, but British entrepreneur Adam Durrant tells the AP that it won't be enough once it's spread among various disciplines.

Still, Nobel Laureate and Royal Society President Venki Ramakrishnan says it won't be "all doom and gloom — but it will be harder. We could make a go of it outside the EU. But for that to happen, we have to attract talent and fund science. And those two things are critical."

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