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The time is now

We must retain, not replace, European collaborations, says Sarah Richardson in this week’s Research Fortnight leader.

In the first-ever Research Fortnight editorial, published 25 years ago, the title’s founder William Cullerne Bown wrote of a “rapidly changing world” of research funding; one characterised by increasing nervousness over where the next round of cash was coming from. At the same time, amid rising collaboration between government and academia, as well as businesses, researchers were exploring fresh kinds of partnerships.

The UK today stands on the precipice of even greater change. As Research Fortnight went to press, parliament was set to vote again on the UK’s withdrawal agreement from the European Union. One thing is abundantly clear: the UK’s highly prized research agreements with Europe will, over the coming months, at best be renegotiated and rewritten, and at worst, rejected altogether. Nervousness over funding is an understatement; some of the UK’s leading academics have already decided that the only way to protect their work is to leave the country.

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