Horizon 2020 Nyheter

Brexit and the academic sector

Brexit and the academic sector

By Ingemar Pongratz


The UK Prime Minister Ms Theresa May has recently made public the UK strategy for the process that the UK will take to leave the European Union. It seems that the UK government has faced a number of setback in their planning process which include for example the need to involve the Parliament and obtain their agreement.

In this aspect the Parliament recently voted to start the process and a second vote is expected when the UK Government has presented the UK priorities in the Brexit negotiations. Also the UK legal system pointed out that the decision to leave the EU does not need to involve regional governments such as Scotland or Northern Ireland, where a majority of the population voted to remain in the European Union. This decision simplifies the process but at the same may trigger a chain of events that would lead to Scotland and Northern Ireland requesting a new vote for independence form the UK.

In addition, the UK Prime minister opened up for the possibility of a so called hard Brexit, with no UK participation in the European Common Market.

This decision has far reaching consequences for the academic sector as well. Participation in the European Common market requires, among other requirements, that the all EU member and associated states agree to open their employment market. The UK is opposing this demand and does not agree to allow access to the UK market to all EU member country nationals. According to the EU treaty these two points are completely incompatible and the EU has rejected all compromises and refuses to enter into negotiations with the UK before the process to leave the EU is activated by the UK.


The Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation scheme is closely connected to the Open Market and it is clear that UK participation in future EU schemes remain uncertain. This problematic outcomes has created a lot of concern among UK researchers. In fact UK researchers report that they already see problems with their participation in EU funded projects.

In addition, non-UK researchers are clearly worried if their possibilities to conduct research in the future and many are considering if leaving the UK research sector may be the best option for them. Not surprisingly, universities form several EU member states are also trying to recruit the best UK researchers to move outside the UK.


Taken together there is considerable uncertainty in the UK academic sector at the moment, and the role of universities in the future is not clear. Other problems include future funding, the role of universities in the future and in fact how the academic sectors will be integrated into the UK economy at large.


Ingemar Pongratz established Fenix Scientific AB / Pongratz Consulting. We help enterprises, universities and other organizations to apply for public funding include EU sources such as Horizon 2020. If you would like to discuss how we can help you with the application process please use the Online Contact form or send me an email to:

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Stockholm Vinterpanorama av Ingemar Pongratz
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