Statement: the Institute of Physics and the EU referendum

The referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union on the 23rd of June will be significant whatever the outcome. We recognise that for many members the decision about whether or not to remain in the EU will be based on a range of issues, and so the IOP is not offering advice on how members should vote.

As the professional body and learned society for physics in the UK we feel it is important to have an informed debate where the issues that have an impact on physics, and science more broadly, are supported by an evidence base. We have therefore collated data on the impact of the EU on UK physics in this brief, based on evidence that the IOP submitted to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry into EU membership and UK science.

We believe this evidence shows that to ensure the continued strength and success of UK physics in the event of a vote to leave the EU, priority must be given to:

  • ensuring that current collaborations and access to facilities across the EU are preserved;
  • mitigating any reductions in funding, including (but not limited to) UK-based European facilities and;
  • enabling UK physicists to continue to work with and recruit the best physicists, wherever they come from.

Science is a long term, collaborative endeavour, and we acknowledge the uncertainty that holding the referendum is creating in some international science partnerships. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, we would wish to see this uncertainty dealt with through a clear commitment from the UK Government to ensuring long-term stability for UK science and for those with whom we collaborate.

For further information about UK science and the EU, see the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report on the Parliament website here.