Brexit 3 years on: The UK's tech and innovation sector is yet to see the promised 'sunlit uplands'

Press quote (Euronews)
01 February 2023

"On the academic side, I would say that's been unequivocally bad, which any scientist or academic will tell you, and that's largely because of this dispute around Horizon and the fact that the UK still hasn't managed to get its membership," Zach Meyers, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform (CER), said.

He tells Euronews Next that while there is speculation that the current UK prime minister Rishi Sunak may try to get the Northern Ireland Protocol issue resolved, which would pave the way for the UK’s association with schemes like Horizon Europe, Brexit has already done significant damage.

"Because of all these years in between of complete uncertainty about whether and when the UK would be part of Horizon, a lot of scientists have just had to make other plans which are no doubt going to be less efficient and effective than what they would have been had the UK remained with associate membership," he said.

...When it comes to innovation, Meyers says Britain had a problem before Brexit - but it has exacerbated the issue.

"You now have a much smaller addressable market as the UK diverges with regulations from the EU," he said.

"And if you're a global business and you're looking at where are you going to invest in innovation and rolling out new products, clearly you want that to be in a market that has as many addressable customers as possible".

..."Even if you lower the regulatory criteria to qualify for a visa, if you have to pay thousands of pounds just to get into the country, you can see that the UK is going to become a less attractive location for migration than it would have been in the past," noted Meyers.