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EU membership - mapping the influence on UK science

The Lords Science and Technology Committee is to conduct a review of the breadth of ways that the UK's EU membership influences science and the scientific community in the UK.

In areas ranging from research funding to collaborations, and from regulation to scientific advice, the landscape of science and research in the UK is significantly affected by the UK's EU membership. But what is the extent of this influence?

Today the Lords Committee is formally launching a new inquiry to analyse how EU membership and the vitality of the UK's science, research and innovation base are connected.

Questions which the inquiry will aim to cover include:

  • What is the scale of the financial contribution from the EU to UK science and research, and vice versa?
  • How effectively are funds managed in the EU, compared to the management of science funding in the UK?
  • What are the benefits to UK science and research in terms of collaboration and funding programmes such as Horizon 2020 and the European Research Council?
  • How is private investment in UK science and research influenced by EU membership?
  • What contribution does EU membership make to the quality of UK science and research through the free movement of people?
  • Does EU membership inhibit collaborations with countries outside the EU?
  • Which EU regulatory mechanisms greatly affect the science and research community in the UK? 
  • How does the quality and effectiveness of scientific advice on matters of public policy compare between the EU and the UK?

Chair of the Committee, Lord Selborne, said:

“What we aim to explore with this inquiry is the status of ‘UK Science' as it operates within the EU, in particular the ways in which EU membership influences science, research and innovation here in the UK.

These influences range from funding to collaboration, as well as regulatory frameworks and mechanisms for science advice. The aim of our inquiry is to conduct a rigorous, evidence-based ‘stocktake' of the key ways our EU membership affects science, research and innovation in the UK.

We welcome contributions and look forward to exploring this subject in greater detail.”

The Committee is inviting written evidence on the issue, to be received by 20 November 2015.

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