By Holly Else
Boris Johnson has been selected as the United Kingdom’s new prime minister — and is poised to lead the country out of the European Union. At the forefront of many scientists’ minds are questions about how Johnson’s leadership, including his support for a ‘no deal’ Brexit, will affect research. They fear that British science has much to lose from a messy departure from the EU.
Johnson is a controversial politician, who has served as the Conservative government’s foreign secretary and as mayor of London. He has said little directly about research during his leadership campaign. But crucially, and worryingly, for many scientists and politicians, Johnson has said that he is prepared to walk away from the EU without any future trade and immigration agreements in place.
A no-deal Brexit could happen if an agreement cannot be reached with the EU by 31 October, the date by which the United Kingdom must leave the bloc. Scientists have long said that an abrupt exit would be disastrous for UK research — instantly cutting off some funding from big-money EU science programmes, threatening collaborations and disrupting travel, hiring and collaborations.
Nature looks at what Johnson’s premiership could mean for science.
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