More than 150 scientists from the Royal Society are in favor of Britain staying in the European Union, and now Stephen Hawking has joined his voice to the choir arguing that Brexit could very well represent a “disaster for science.”
Hawking is supported in his opinion by the Astronomer Royal and three Nobel laureates, all agreeing that “any threat to the freedom of movement” could end up having catastrophic effects on Britain’s research field.
In an open letter published in The Times, the group wrote about how many of the greatest researchers come from continental Europe, including the youngest ones who have moved there after obtaining various EU grants.
Should the UK leave the EU, these 150 scientists believe the relationship between the UK and Europe will become tense, leading to a disaster for UK universities and science in general.
In the Royal Society letter, the researchers used Switzerland as a negative example, showing how the country’s vote to restrict migration of workers has caused a failure to attract young talent.
In their own words, they say that “Switzerland pays into the EU and was a popular destination for young scientists. It now has limited access to EU funds because it voted to restrict the free movement of workers, and is desperately trying to find alternative ways to attract young talent.”
In conclusion, the letter emphasized that the UK needs to consider how their investment in science will influence the long-term prosperity and security of the country.
In the UK, investing in science is just as important as their investment in farming or manufacturing. Therefore, ensuring there is free movement of scientists is monumental, just like free trade is vital for market economics.
More than 1,600 fellows and foreign members make up the Royal Society, Britain’s most prominent scientific institution. The news made headlines after Michael Gove, MP and British Conservative politician, was at the center of the EU row, leaking some information that the Queen might be in favor of the UK leaving the EU.
The information was leaked from a private conversation between the Queen and four members of the Privy Council in April 2011, and the Justice Secretary admitted he was the source of the leaked exchange.
Even though that conversation was almost five years, it surfaced in the Sun newspaper as evidence that the “Queen backs Brexit.” If that’s the case or not, it doesn’t matter; Her Majesty just got dragged for the first time in the row over Britain’s EU membership.
Image Source: BBC News