I wrote to my MP about the Science is Vital lobby about EDM772.
Dear Richard Benyon,
I am a constituent of yours, living at xxx.
Thank you again for your call in December about Brexit.
I am writing today along similar lines, to ask you to sign EDM 772, ‘Preserving access to EU research programmes’.
There will be a Science is Vital lobby on Tuesday 31st January from 14:00–16:00 in Room R, Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament, and I would ask that you attend. Unfortunately due to work conflicts I am unable to get to London at that time, but I support this lobby and would be there if at all possible.
I am a neuropsyhology researcher by background, and know first had the importance of international collaborations in STEM subjects. My first job after leaving university was as a researcher on a European Union project into the gene and environment interactions in psychotic disorders – the largest of its kind to date.
‘The EU-GEI project has aimed to identify, over a 5-year period, the interactive genetic, clinical and environmental determinants, involved in the development, severity and outcome of schizophrenia. The partners in EU-GEI represent the nationally funded schizophrenia / mental health networks of the UK, Netherlands, France, Spain, Turkey and Germany, as well as other research institutes and a number of SME’s in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, and outside the EU in Hong Kong/China and Australia.
The project started on May 1, 2010 and has run until May 1, 2015.’
This research study has made incredible findings across the span of psychotic disorders, and has led to lead to many insights in prevention, treatment and recovery in schizophrenia. This in turn will have societal and financial benefits to the UK in the form of improved quality of life; reduced carer burden; reduced healthcare spending; improvement in employment numbers; and reduced reliance on employment and disability benefits, in this patient group. Without a collaborative project of this size being open to UK researchers these benefits simply would not be seen.
Leaving the EU without appropriate safeguards will hinder the UK’s participation in collaborative research projects such as that described above, and cut funding to important work across the spectrum of STEM fields. This will not only have societal and policy implications for science, technology, engineering, mathematics and healthcare research, but will negatively impact employment as the UK will lose out on funding that is vital to researcher salaries. Quite simply, with no funding there are no jobs. There have already been UK wide cuts across the board in STEM funding in the UK, and reduced access to EU funding will only make this situation worse. This in turn will negatively impact on timely knowledge and skill sharing across EU institutions.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email, I hope I have conveyed the seriousness of this issue, and have convinced you to sign eDM 772. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Dr Emma Cooper
Early Day Motion 772
Access to EU research programmes
That this House recognises the importance of maintaining the UK’s world-leading research base; notes that this is vital to the UK’s international reputation and to its future health, environment and economy; emphasises that science is international and depends on the freedom of all researchers to seek collaboration and training around Europe and the world; further recognises the unique collaborative opportunities provided by EU research programmes through international movement of researchers allowing skills and knowledge to be shared; further notes that the UK is a net beneficiary of the EU research budget which currently provides 10 per cent of UK public-funded research; and calls on the Government to preserve access to these vital EU research funding programmes whatever the form of the UK’s future relations with the EU.