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Oxford vice chancellor slams Brexit research funding proposals

Oxford vice chancellor Louise Richardson has condemned current government Brexit proposals, warning that the UK is set to miss out on billions of EU research funding.

Richardson said the “pay-as-you-go” proposals risk an “enormous loss” to research, and warned that the UK could lose its reputation in the scientific community if it cut ties with the EU.

Speaking to the British Irish Chamber of Commerce conference, Richardson said: “The reality is that between 2007 and 2013 the UK contributed £5.4bn to the EU to support research, development and innovation while over the same period we received £8.8bn under the EU research framework programme budget.

“So post-Brexit the pay-as-you-go system as has been proposed – a system where the UK gets out only as much as it puts in to research funding – represents an enormous loss to us.”

Richardson told the conference that swathes of UK research, from cancer vaccines to sports science, would suffer.

“I would call on the UK government to make it a priority in the Brexit negotiations that our universities continue to have the strongest possible relationship with the EU.”

Richardson argued that with finance, agriculture and other sectors likely to suffer as a result of Brexit, research and innovation would become more critical to the British economy.

“I think we are all in trouble as a result of the referendum. We know how much our reputation depends upon our research partnerships and collaborations, in everything from artificial intelligence to zoology.

“Many of these partnerships, which are supported through EU research programmes, are threatened by Brexit.”

Last term, Cherwell revealed that the EU provides over half of the external research funding for several Oxford departments.

The data also showed that EU funding to University departments in 2016/17 had increased by more than 8% over two years.

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