In the wake of Britain’s Brexit result many scientists have expressed concern about the future of scientific research in the UK. Even the world’s most renowned scientist Professor Stephen Hawking waded in to the debate to put pressure on the UK government to act in order to preserve future funding.

Yet a recent Deloitte report on the global outlook of life sciences stated that Pharma investment in the UK has consistently increased over the last two years and that the pharma sector is the United Kingdom’s most successful research-based industry.*

So what is the future for UK Life sciences?

NES Global Talent is a leading global recruitment specialist that focuses on the Life Sciences arena and works with some of the world's leading manufacturers and distributors of innovative laboratory equipment and cutting edge laboratory supplies, as well as scientific service providers.

We asked one of our experienced life science specialists how he felt now the initial shock of the result has worn off:

What do you think the short terms effects of the Brexit vote will be on the UK Life science community?

Following the recent referendum there are a number of questions surrounding the future of the UK Life Science sector, mainly centred around future investment for research and development. The EU has a combined budget of €120 billion to fund and support research and innovation projects between 2014-2020. Short term, the general consensus is that there will be no immediate impact with many companies and research bodies taking a ‘’business as usual approach’’. However over the coming months / years there will be growing concern as Britain prepares to exit as to how EU investment will be affected.

What are your longer term concerns?

Countries such as Norway and Switzerland do have links to EU funded programmes and participate in the same framework projects under the same conditions as other EU countries. The main difference is that they are not represented on the European Council so cannot influence the direction of EU funding. This would be a concern for the UK. Another concern would be linked to trade negotiations and restrictions and how this could affect decisions for companies to base their R&D and Manufacturing in the UK. 

Do you see any advantages for British scientists being out of Europe?

The decision to leave the EU may bring welcomed advantages to scientists and businesses within the UK life science sector. The key for the UK industry is to retain and attract business investment into UK based research projects and to continue nurturing talented British scientists. The UK is a centre of excellence for science and research and our Universities provide some of the best scientific talent in the world. 

The advantages of being outside of Europe could include; 

  • More Government control of where UK funding is spent
  • Ability to offer incentives and tax benefits to attract more businesses to set up in the UK
  • Greater flexibility to trade with non EU Countries and negotiate new investment deals with countries such as USA and China
  • Targeted Investment in UK based start-up companies led by Universities.

With over 5000 UK Life science companies in the UK, there is still a high demand for scientists and job prospects are good. NES have not seen any immediate impact of Brexit on the Life Science job market and we continue to see high calibre candidates apply for Life Science jobs via our website.

If you are looking for a new role you can search our latest life science jobs here. If you have a life science recruitment requirement, please get in touch.



*Deloitte report - 2016 Global life sciences outlook Regional & country perspectives

The spread of COVID-19 is affecting all of us. But as a global staffing company, NES would like to reassure our customers that we are fully operational across all our locations and are working closely with clients to ensure essential projects stay on track at this difficult time. For regular updates, please see our COVID-19 Support Hub.