Response to the Smith-Reid report

06 November 2019

In response to “Changes and Choices”, the independent review of frameworks for international research collaboration, Dr. Tim Bradshaw, Chief Executive at the Russell Group, said:

“Research and innovation are global endeavours, whether tackling grand challenges such as preparation for a zero carbon future or conducting clinical trials to treat rare diseases. The UK’s success as a cutting-edge research nation hinges on our ability to work at scale and to collaborate with, and attract, the most talented people from across the world. With Brexit, the task of research itself, let alone the research challenges being addressed, will become more difficult.

“The Smith-Reid Review recognises this difficulty and the acute tension the new Government will face when deciding if it should seek association to Horizon Europe or pursue a different path.

“We share the review’s bold and ambitious global vision for UK research and innovation and recognise that it is helpful to consider contingency options. However, this should not be an either/or discussion. Many of the review’s recommendations would work alongside, and complement, association to Horizon Europe. Whether we associate or not, the UK should increase its investment in research substantially, it should have a Global Talent Strategy, it should seek to attract further foreign direct investment in research and it should have a flagship programme of international research fellowships.

“If the UK does not associate to Horizon Europe then we must be under no illusions about a domestic alternative somehow being better. Just to stand still and deal with immediate disruption the UK will need to overcompensate financially. If we want to stay competitive, and reap the benefits of international research collaboration, then the ideas in the Smith-Reid review should only be seen as the starting point for a new era that will need significant and long-term public investment.

“When it comes to making important decisions about the future, it is crucial that the new Government listens to the overwhelming evidence from the research community about the value of the partnerships and successful collaborative links with Europe.”

Our policy response to the review's call for evidence is available here.


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