Vice Chancellor Janet Beer was on BBC Breakfast this week
She argued that staying in the EU benefits scientific research
Professor Janet Beer, the University Vice Chancellor, discussed the impact of EU membership on scientific research in a debate on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday.
The debate was at Jodrell Bank where lots of scientific research is carried out in the UK. It was was hosted by Steph McGovern on her ‘Referendum Road Trip’ which looks at different issues that are affected by the EU in Britain.
Janet Beer was joined by Doctor Lee Upcraft from the group Scientists for Britain and BBC science correspondent Pallab Ghosh.
When asked about her views on the EU’s impact on science and whether she was concerned that we would lose funding from the EU if we left, Janet said:
“We simply don’t know what would happen if we left, and at the moment we’ve got what I like to think of as the balance of the valuable and the invaluable.
“Yes, [Britain] gets a lot of money for science from the European Union. We do better than any other nation by GDP, except the Netherlands. So we earn huge amounts of money for collaborative projects.
“That leads me into the invaluable part, which is about collaboration, which is about science without borders, which is about attracting the best and the brightest to the UK to work because we are a part of the EU and we have access to the funds. We have evidence to tell us that research has 50% more impact if it’s international than if it is nationally focused.”
Lee Upcraft, an ex-UKIP MP was also on the panel, disagreed and felt leaving the EU would be more beneficial, adding that funding for scientific research would still be available to the UK if we left the EU as it is to other non-EU members. Pallad Ghosh offered a more neutral view stating the benefits of staying in the EU, but also making clear that many EU benefits for science would still be available if we joined team Brexit.
You can watch the full debate here.