Brexit: UK Tech Research To Lose Billions In EU Funding Unless Government Steps In

University of Cambridge KingsCollegeChapelWest

IT industry body BCS says UK government needs to make sure universities and reseach labs get the same €8.8bn EU funding they would lose from Brexit

The government has been urged to ensure that any move to leave the European Union (EU) ensures the same level of funding is provided for computer science and engineering research and education to compensate.

In the referendum last week, the ‘Leave’ campaign secured a narrow victory that has caused concern among many industries, not least technology.

UK-based technology firms were overwhelmingly in favour of continued membership of the EU and the ‘Remain’ campaign had support of Microsoft, IBM, BT and others.

Read More: What Brexit means for technology

Tech education

5GIC university of Surrey (1)BCS, the chartered institute for IT, warns that UK universities received €8.8 billion in research grants over a six year period leading up to 2013 and that any shortfall could damage the high ranking of British universities.

The organisation says any Brexit negotiations must ensure UK universities and academics are able to participate in pan-European initiatives like CERN and the European Space Agency and can contribute to standards bodies like those seeking to formalise 5G networks.

“The UK has always thrived as an international trading nation and global leader in science and engineering,” said Bill Mitchell, director of education at BCS. “As we leave the EU we need to ensure we maintain our place within the scientific and engineering communities both within Europe and globally.

“It’s important to note though that advances in most basic and applied science and engineering are now achieved through close international collaboration.”

Brexit has led many to fear that British based technology companies will not have access to the same talent pool if EU immigration is limited. BCS says it is of vital importance that university and industry labs are able to recruit the best minds from around the world and that levels of computer science education in the UK are improved to help cope with an ongoing digital skills gap.

“The world is now watching what happens here in the UK and is rushing to catch up,” continued Mitchell. “We need to make sure we continue to be world leaders in computing education for the future of our children.”

Quiz: What do you know about European tech and the EU?