09/10/2018

University Experts Warn Brexit Will Stall Cancer Research

Experts have predicted that Brexit will cause a deadly blow to lifesaving cancer research throughout the UK due to a possible "medical manpower crisis".

The warning comes from leading experts at Queen's University Belfast who anticipate a "catastrophic Brexit effect" on lifesaving research and cancer care.

The UK has a reputation as a "powerhouse for cancer research," however Brexit holds the potential to trigger a manpower crisis that could negatively affect health and seriously harm the standard of research here.

The experts from Belfast have said the decline will have a detrimental impact on the health of residents across the UK.

Professor Mark Lawler from the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen's University warned of the looming crisis.

He said: "The 'Brexit effect' on our research reputation could be catastrophic, and given that high quality research underpins better cancer outcomes, we risk undermining the cancer care of our patients.

"The challenge of cancer is so great, it is critical that we bring together the best minds to find the best solutions to improve cancer outcomes for our citizens."
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According to researchers, a loss of human capital is possible due to restrictions on freedom of movement from the EU to a post-Brexit UK, which could lead to serious consequences for the quality and impact of research. "Currently, in the UK we attract high quality talent and that is why we are a powerhouse for cancer research across Europe," Professor Lawler said.

The claims by Queen's University experts follow a study carried out at the University of Leeds in collaboration with King's College London, in which it was revealed that a high number of researchers behind ground-breaking UK research are from EU countries, with one fifth of Queen's University's research staff non-UK born.

Professor Richard Sullivan, Director of the Institute for Cancer Policy at Kings College London has warned that the UK has already lost research funding.

He said: "In the uncertainty of a post-Brexit world, we risk the distinct possibility that cancer scientists from other parts of the EU won't want to or won't be allowed to work in the UK.

"The knock-on effect could be devastating. Our results indicate a very positive and statistically significant contribution of foreign staff to the UK cancer research knowledge base, one that we must preserve following the UK's departure from the EU."

(JG)




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