Responding to the challenge of Brexit

CaSE Director Dr Sarah Main

Just a few days after the EU referendum in June 2016, I had a conversation with the chief executive of one of our learned society members who said that CaSE was well-placed to make a strong case to Government for science during the process of Brexit. Indeed, he indicated that his organisation and others were keen to supplement CaSE’s resource to help us be as effective as possible in that mission.

The support expressed in that conversation grew and spread and, having extended the invitation to all CaSE members, we gathered a group of 12 organisations to jointly support CaSE’s engagement with the Brexit process.

These organisations have committed to support CaSE’s Brexit work by providing funds for a policy officer to work at CaSE for just under two years and for activities associated with the work.

CaSE’s aim throughout the Brexit negotiations will be to secure an outcome that does not merely allow science and engineering to survive but to flourish. So we will be engaging with government to positively influence their thinking as they seek to define a new international and domestic environment for UK science.

The policy officer will make a significant contribution to our small team, involved in all aspects of policy analysis and development. They will support the vital underpinning work of data analysis, evidence-gathering, seeking sector views and submitting positions to Parliament. Their support will enable both our Deputy Director, Naomi Weir, and me to engage actively and strategically in Parliament and Whitehall during the next crucial stages of exiting the European Union. It will enable us to build the critical relationships across Government to become a key influencer in domestic and international policies for science.

I am very grateful for the vote of confidence from that first chief executive who suggested this idea to me and to all our funding organisations for their endorsement of our work. I hope that investing some of their policy resources with CaSE will help them achieve their organisational objectives of influencing the Brexit process to ensure a positive outcome for science in a collective and all the more effective way.