Brexit and NET services: a letter from the Chair of UKINETS

Dear members.

Well we are out of the EU it seems… Without wanting to state my voting preference there are some issues now that we are leaving. However, we must plan ahead. It seems to me that UKINETS must have some political voice, even though I think we are primarily a scientific organisation.

What effect will BREXIT have on NET services?  Well, I hope not much.  We deliberated sending a formal message to ENETS to state our position and to ensure collaboration but some of the exec were for and some against. In the end I emailed Massimo Falconi , the current President of ENETS, and he confirmed that he felt we are “ scientists, doctors and friends and in these tasks there is no place for political matters” . I am reassured then that our relationship and collaboration with ENETS will remain very strong.  UK members will continue to engage very actively at the ENETS meeting, even though the amount of rioja you can buy for a GBP will not be quite as great.

There are however some potential changes related to BREXIT. One is data transfer between UK and EU.  I have seen a report from RRPP healthcare who have summarised changes post BREXIT. The EU has published guidance on data protection, but this will not be applicable to UK soon, although if we want to do work in the EU we will have to abide by it. It is likely that UK will enact a law very similar to the EU legislation, so that there is co-operation and so that data can continue to be shared easily. As far as we can tell, the BREXIT would not affect the centres of excellence programme.

One aspect that is of concern is research funding. Centres that rely heavily on EU funding may have funding compromised in years to come.  Between 2007 and 2013, UK paid 5.4 billion Euros into research (of all types) but got 8.4 billion back in grants. This leaves a worrying shortfall on current estimates but the new chancellor may have a plan…

May I wish you a restful if not sweltering summer vacation.

John Ramage, UKINETS Chair