After the UK voted to leave the EU last month, many observers have predicted an exodus of talent from the country.
When Article 50 is invoked, no research grants will be revoked, so there will be no immediate cut in funding.
However, scientists will be left in the dark about whether they should be applying for new funds from the European Research Council, which could pause research.
Longer term, that €3.4bn gap in scientific funding will have to be met by the UK government to maintain investment in research and development.
Two of the biggest scientific projects on the continent – the European Space Agency and CERN (which operates the Large Hadron Collider) – have nothing to do with the EU and so will be unaffected by invoking Article 50. So the “God particle” (or Higgs Boson) will survive Brexit.
Professor Frenk, a cosmologist and one of the authors of a Royal Society review of the EU and scientific funding, believes more casual collaborations between European scientists will, longer term, be more difficult.
“We won’t have access to the same network,” Professor Frenk told Sky News. “We will lose the ease with which we would collaborate with colleagues.”
Nevertheless, the biggest foreign power we collaborate with currently is not the EU, but the US. This will be unaffected.
One of the loudest complaints you hear from technology start-ups in the UK is how hard it is to find technical talent – the engineers and data scientists to build platforms.
The Brexit vote is likely to exacerbate the problem, as European techies at least reconsider moving to the UK.
The UK will also likely miss out on the next round of European tech giants setting up base here. The founders of Spotify and Transferwise, for example, set up their first bases in London, bringing jobs (and tech kudos) to the capital.
UK technology companies may also lose access to the mooted European Single Digital Market, but this is unlikely to have much effect. US technology companies have shown it is extremely possible to make money outside it.
Another thing to consider regarding technology is personal data.
The EU has just passed new privacy regulation – the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR – replacing the UK’s current Data Protection Act.
Basically the new law increases the protection of your privacy online, restricting what companies can and can’t do with your personal information.
At the same time, the UK government is seeking to bring its Investigatory Powers Bill – which grants more powers to intelligence agencies for bulk surveillance – into law by the end of this year.
So Brexit, according to Mahmoud Handy, the director of online privacy advisory firm Detracker, is likely to lead to the following situation:
“UK companies, charities and universities will put more effort into the protection of privacy rights for Irish, German, Polish and other European citizens than for English users and students.”
The counter argument is that, freed from EU law, the intelligence agencies will be better able to protect UK citizens.