On 29 March 2017, Theresa May formally triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which will start Britain’s formal Brexit process, that is the exit from the European Union.
If a member state triggers Article 50 they will have two years in order to leave the EU. The exit negotiations between the EU and the UK will attempt to decide upon a withdrawal settlement and on developing a new trade deal following Brexit.
Brexit is one of the most important political developments facing the UK and the EU, for many years. It’s potential impact on the Research Sector is difficult to know for sure at this point. However, if following the Brexit discussions, the UK is excluded from future EU research programmes, nobody will profit from it. The potential for disruption to this sector is substantial, as the UK is the EU’s second biggest contributor to the research budget. This uncertainty is also casting a shadow over the UK scientific community, but will probably hit EU early-career scientists particularly hard as they see their rights to live and work in the country threatened.
However, compared to other topics under negotiations, it appears that EU countries are not far apart on research. The UK has for instance not ruled out continued participation in EU research programmes, or the Erasmus student exchange programme, which gives students the opportunity to spend time studying abroad.