Fears for science industry after UK quits EU

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A group of MPs have called on the Government to ensure Brexit does not impact science

MPs have urged the Government not to slam the door on scientists and experts from overseas after Brexit.

The Commons Science and Technology Committee also said the Government should fully commit to making up any shortfall in research funding as a result of the break from Brussels.

The committee added the Government's industrial strategy should have gone further in acknowledging the way the process of leaving the European Union would shape the country's economic future.

The cross-party group welcomed the £2 billion a year promised by Prime Minister Theresa May for research and development, but said the extra cash should be a 'down payment' on the way to public and private funding reaching 3% of GDP.

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Committee chairman Stephen Metcalfe said: 'A regulatory regime that is well-crafted and tuned to our post-Brexit international research and trading relationships – both with Europe and globally – will be essential.

'The Government has an opportunity to do more to strengthen the links between the industrial strategy and Brexit as the exit negotiations now get under way.'

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The MPs also called for ministers to give a 'firm commitment to EU researchers working and studying in the UK that they will continue to have a secure position here post-Brexit'.

As part of the industrial strategy, the PM announced increases in government investment worth £2 billion per year by 2020 for research and development (R&D).

Tory MP Metcalfe said: 'I want the Government to see that as an initial investment towards meeting a target - for the UK to be spending 3% of GDP on R&D - that our committee has repeatedly pushed for.

'While it is too soon to know whether Brexit will end up bringing less or more inward science investment to the UK in the long-term, the Government should be ready to make good any net shortfall in the short-term with further funding for science.'

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