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From our Swindon Correspondent:

From the Guardian

Another area of concern for you is the effect of Brexit on the science community. Do you see any cause for optimism there?
Not really. There are three major science blocs in the world, which are North America, China and the far east and Europe. Britain is actually good at science and had a lot of influence in European science. And so we have lost power and influence. That’s a political thing. The psychological thing is that I meet scientific colleagues around the world and they just think that the UK has turned away from collaborative science by looking back on an imperial history that no longer exists. It’s just very sentimental. And we’ve taken a leap several decades into the past.
Europe is a major science “bloc” because the funding of much science goes through the EU. This also means that if a project has collaboration, it’s going to be with Pierre and Vito rather than Brad or Akira, even if the scientist in Oxford would rather partner with a university that has some Nobel prizes.
Leaving the EU not only means we can give more public money to UK science, because the EU isn’t taking a large chunk of money, but also, that we can work with any of the blocs and we hold the purse strings. We want to work with Hans in Stuttgart? We’re going to work with Hans in Stuttgart. If the EU want us to work with Manuel at the University of Corfu (formerly, Malaguf Polytechnic) to spread some Euros around, we can refuse.

One other reason why the scientific bureaucrats aren’t happy about a change in the scientific bureaucracy occurs. Those who currently run the scientific bureaucracy are, by definition, those who have risen to the top of the current scientific bureaucracy….

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Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
3 years ago

Look at any of the various “world university rankings” tables – they all reach slightly differing conclusions, but are unanimous in placing two or three English universities in the top 10, and plenty more in the top 50 (most of the ‘Russell Group’). The EU will be lucky to find any in the top 50 – usually the highest placed Continental establishment is ETH Zurich, also not in the EU.

Paul Nurse, great geneticist, but for 40 years a member of the Labour Party and various other lefty organisations.

3 years ago

Science doesn’t depend on “power and influence.” It depends on rigor and intellectual honesty, the willingness to go where your measurements take you. Teach that well and you will do good science.

Sure, science needs funding too. Why is this increased by sending pounds to Brussels and hoping most come back?

Swindon’s final point is key: Chief bureaucrats argue against alternatives to their bureaucracy. Why, that is their function!

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