In laboratories across the United Kingdom, scientists were shaking their heads about the unprecedented vote to leave the European Union, with worries about what the split will mean about the future of research funding and the possibility of a "brain exit."
Scientists were among the most opposed to Brexit. A survey by the journal Nature found that among 907 active U.K. scientists, 83 percent were in favor of staying. According to the journal, U.K. researchers have received 1.4 billion euro to support research since 2014.
Physicist Stephen Hawking and 150 other fellows of the prestigious Royal Society who in March wrote a letter arguing that a departure would be a "disaster for UK science," warning that it would imperil Britain's ability to attract the best scientists from across Europe.
In an interview with Scientific American, Lord Paul Drayson, a former British Minister of Science, said that there were a variety of reasons for scientists' opposition, ranging from philosophical ideas about the benefits of collaboration to more practical competitive reasons.
"I’m on the board of the council of Oxford University, and Oxford is very clear that its ability to maintain its position as a world-class university would be negatively affected by Brexit, because it would not be able to attract the very best talent in the way in which it has been able to do up till now," Drayson told the magazine.
In the wake of the vote, responses began to trickle in:
"In the past, U.K. science has been well supported by E.U. funding. This has been an essential supplement," Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society said in a statement.
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