Brexit: What it means for UK Biotech?

Global Biotech Revolution stands for the values of connecting and growing the global bio-economy through inter-generational debate. The referendum result in favour of the UK leaving the EU has caused major discontent from the younger voting demographic, most of whom voted to “Remain”.

This vote affects young researchers and world-class UK universities who receive a significant contribution through EU scholarships, research funding and most importantly collaborations. It affects enterprising young people who would seek to engage the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystems to build businesses and create jobs and growth.

These are tumultuous times for the UK in politics and the economy. There has already been significant immediate impact, and the high level of uncertainty may worsen the situation. However, the bio-economy is global and takes punts on long-term challenges and solutions. This will help the biotech industry remain stronger than many other sectors in the country. To ensure this continued strength, the UK will need to reinforce its “welcoming spirit” to talent from both EU and non-EU countries that will drive the growth of its biotech industry, as the current climate has brought significant doubts for foreign Leaders of Tomorrow who wish to grow their careers in UK.

We collected reactions from some of UK and European biotech thought leaders and reached out to the GBR’s community of Leaders of Tomorrow about what this could mean for the UK, its Biotech sector, and the young talent who wish to be part of it.

Diversity in experience is essential for the development of novel solutions to current complex problems. Different educations and a range of backgrounds aid this diversity in thought and approaches to research. Brexit threatens research at its core through limitation of thought and movement.
How can an enclosed mind think outside the box?

Dr Krishnaa Muhbubani, Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Cambridge

“The life sciences sector is a resilient community, unfazed by new challenges and staffed by great management teams used to working in a global environment. The fundamentals of UK bioscience remain strong… But several key issues for our sector are now in flux. Key questions about the regulation of medicine, access to the single market and talent, intellectual property and the precise nature of the future relationship of the UK with Europe are now upon us.”
Steve Bates, CEO, BioIndustry Association

“Leaving the EU will create significant challenges for universities… our focus will be on securing support that allows our universities to continue to be global in their outlook, internationally networked and an attractive destination for talented people from across Europe.”
Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, President, Universities UK

The UK may risk suffering from a substantial loss of skilled EU-nationals. From my perspective, having studied in the UK as a foreign EU national, I would have generally considered remaining in the UK after my PhD. However, the uncertainties already at play last year made me take a clear decision to leave the UK. Now the level of uncertainty is even exacerbated.
C.B., Project Leader, c-LEcta GMBH

“The voice of the British people has been heard. This creates immediate challenges for future investment, research and jobs in our industry in the UK.”
Mike Thompson, CEO, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry

“This is a very disappointing outcome for medical science. Now that the direction has been set to leave the EU, it is crucial that the government develops clear plans to safeguard the future of science and research in the UK.”
Professor Sir Robert Lechler, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences

Categories: Blog

Tags: Leaders of Today, Industry, Public perception, Biotechnology

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