Chemistry Professionals Overwhelmingly Concerned by ‘No-Deal’ Brexit, Notes Survey

March 15, 2019

A new survey, commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry, has highlighted the level of concern within the UK’s chemistry sector surrounding the potential ‘no-deal’ Brexit outcome.

A new survey, commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry, has highlighted the level of concern within the United Kingdom’s chemistry sector surrounding the potential ‘no-deal’ Brexit outcome.

In a March 12, 2019 press release, the society revealed the outcomes of its survey, in which 5800 chemistry professionals from the UK, European Union (EU), and beyond were questioned about Brexit and its impact on the sector. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents stated that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be very negative for UK science, with only 4% of respondents anticipating a positive outcome of a ‘no-deal’ scenario.

“For 72% of respondents to say a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be ‘very negative’ should be a sobering reminder for government about the potential impacts this could have on UK science and innovation,” said Tanya Sheridan, policy and evidence manager at the Royal Society of Chemistry. “We are now counting down in days to the deadline for crashing out of the EU without a deal. It is absolutely crucial for the chemical sciences and the hundreds of thousands working in industry and academia who feel they are being hung out to dry over this uncertainty.”

As reported by the society, the chemistry sector is worth £50 billion (approximately US$66 billion) to the UK economy. However, according to a report published by the Bank of England, the chemistry sector output would drop by 35% in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. “It is vital the government ensures a good deal for science and innovation that supports jobs and allows both academia and industry to maintain the UK’s world-leading position. No deal is not an option for the chemical sciences,” added Sheridan.

Key concerns in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit that were highlighted by survey respondents included access to international facilities, international collaborative networks, funding for fundamental, curiosity-driven research, access to large-scale grants, and easy movement for skilled scientists.

Survey respondents were mainly located in the UK and Ireland (3638), followed by Europe (1437), Asia (236), rest of the world (219), and United States and Canada (212).

Sources: RSCBank of England