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Brexit and Trump’s disastrous effect on science

2016 has been a rollercoaster of a year with regards to political incidences. With the UK voting in favor of leaving the EU in June 2016 and then a follow up of the US voting for President-elect Donald Trump in November of the same year, this has led to a degree of uncertainty in the scientific field. With funding at the forefront of scientific research and the advancement of scientific breakthroughs, the future has been thrown into turmoil as the individuals working in both countries, the US and the UK, are left contemplating their positions and their futures.

According to government specialists, scientific research in the UK receives in excess of what is paid into the ‘funding pot’ and in the US, a vast amount of money is spent on defense and scientific research; both of which Trump is looking to move funding from during his time as president. The future of foreign scientific researchers is at the center of much debate and discussion currently.

Funding and trained personnel are paramount to scientific research, loss of which would undoubtedly have a negative impact on research capability. The UK receives more financial assistance from the EU than it contributes and the number of well-educated foreign nationals currently working in the US is a significant amount. With the latest political developments, these could be subject to change. This could lead to changes in jobs available in these countries and also in foreign students coming to these countries where they are not assured career paths afterwards. In turn, more jobs and study centers in other EU countries could benefit.

One similarity between the leaders of the Brexit leave campaign and Donald Trump is their view on climate change, stating this as a hoax. Is it safe to put the fate of future scientific research in the hands of those who are not willing to accept findings as evidence?

With these developments occurring in such a short time of each other this is likely to cast a negative cloud over the research sectors in the US and the UK which can spell disaster for professionals in these areas. This could be beneficial for foreign countries that are looking to ‘catch up’ to the US and the UK as well as other leaders in this sector.