The UK science policy establishment has been remarkably sanguine in the face of its government’s plans for Brexit. Some of their public utterances would do justice to Voltaire’s Dr Pangloss in assuring the research community that it will all turn out all right in the end… Much of it resembles the wishful thinking of other sections of the UK policy elite, namely that the remaining EU countries will simply roll over and give the UK whatever it wants, regardless of their own national interests… Responsible science policy makers should be signalling to the community what Plan B for Brexit might actually look like. Is it right to encourage young people to embark on PhDs and postdocs in areas of science that the UK will not be able to support from its own resources? If the UK’s participation in vital networks is heading for decline, should we be encouraging bright STEM students to learn German and head across the Channel rather than asking them to settle for a second-rate future here?
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