Brexit could prevent UK being in 'Premier League' of cancer research, says professor

Cancer research

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Brexit could affect the UK's standing as being in the "Premier League" of cancer research, a professor from Queen's University Belfast has warned.

Professor Mark Lawler from the University's Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology told Julia Hartley-Brewer that the UK's status as a "powerhouse for cancer research" in Europe could be affected post-Brexit.

"We are at the Premier League in relation to cancer research," Professor Lawler said.

"We're at that Premier League level because we have the input of both UK-born and non-UK, EU-born scientists.

"Our worry is that if we have a scenario where we can't have scientists from Europe coming into the UK to work here - or perhaps they won't want to work here post-Brexit - it'll have a serious impact on our standing as leading cancer research in Europe."

Professor Lawler appeared on the breakfast show to discuss a study carried out by Queen's University Belfast, which claimed that scientific papers published by teams with at least one EU-born member of staff had a wider reach and greater impact.

"What we showed was the impact of that non-UK EU-born member of staff on the papers meant that they had higher impact, they were published in better journals, they led to more discoveries, led to more translation of research," he said.

"We want to continue being number one in Europe and obviously that's why I'm concerned, and that's why we wrote this study.

"What we want to do is be collaborating with groups in Europe. It's going to be more difficult if we're not actually funded on joint programmes together."