U.K. researchers and their organizations have reacted with dismay to last night’s decision by the U.K. electorate to leave the European Union. Science and technology were not a major talking point during the referendum campaign, but numerous scientists and research organizations urged voters to preserve the United Kingdom’s E.U. membership.
“This is a really serious worry for me. … I fear desperately for U.K. science,” says Steve Cowley, director of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy near Oxford, U.K., home of the Joint European Torus (JET), a fusion reactor that is one of a handful of European facilities sited in the United Kingdom. “There is no way I can pretend to be anything other than dispirited and disappointed," says Simon Wessely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London. "Whilst I don’t believe that people voted to leave the E.U. with science and health foremost in their minds, I fear that the consequences for both will be serious over the coming year unless we take firm and decisive action now.”
"Personally, I’m a bit bewildered and ashamed by my own country. I never thought this would happen," the European Commission's former science adviser, Anne Glover, who is now vice principal for external affairs and dean for Europe at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom, tells ScienceInsider.