LERU statement on the future of European Science and Innovation post Brexit


The League of European Research Universities (LERU) acknowledges Mrs May’s recent Jodrell Bank speech in which she reaffirmed the UK’s desire to have a full association to the ninth EU framework program on research and innovation ("Horizon Europe") post Brexit and to fund the UK’s participation in Horizon Europe and Euratom R&T.

LERU believes that the world’s greatest problems will ultimately be solved by universities and other agencies working collaboratively and effectively across multiple national borders, applying open science and open innovation in a way that is open to the world. 

In that context it is essential that a way forward is found that allows UK science to continue to be a key contributor to science and innovation in Europe. Over many years of full membership of the EU, the UK has become an integral part of the European research and innovation ecosystem. This has been essential to the development of Science and Innovation, and to prosperity, health, and wealth of citizens in the UK and throughout Europe.

LERU therefore calls upon both the UK government and the EU27 to make science and innovation a high priority in the Brexit negotiations and to reach a solution that will allow scientists and researchers from the UK to continue to participate in all elements and instruments of the European Research Area after Brexit. This is a win-win for both European and UK science with clear positive benefits for all our citizens. 

We recognise that this is difficult to deliver until further progress is made on many other aspects of the Brexit negotiations. We appeal to both the UK and the EU27 to find a way forward that leads to a series of workable solutions that are acceptable to both parties. Mobility of academic staff and researchers, for example, remains a critical issue that must ultimately be resolved and in this respect Prime Minister May’s recent speech is very much to be welcomed.

The future co-operation agreement between the UK and EU27 must allow European science and innovation to continue to flourish at the very highest levels of international excellence and to have a major impact on the world we live in. We encourage those involved in negotiations from both the UK and the EU27 to consider the bigger picture. What is at stake here is our combined ability to make a major contribution to the frontiers of knowledge and to the future of humankind. 


Prof. Kurt Deketelaere, LERU Secretary-General,  or +32 499 80 89 99
Media contact: Bart Valkenaers, Policy Officer,  or +32 498 08 43 49