Notes from a Participant: Future of Bioscience? Post-Brexit Reality

The event hosted jointly by King’s Think Tank and KCL Bioscience Student’s Association entitled “Future of Biosciences? – Post-Brexit Reality” invited two expert panellists from distinct fields within the Biosciences to share with the audience about how they perceive the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU.

The first panellist, Sir Robert Lechler, Vice President and Executive Director of King’s Health Partners, spoke from the point of view of academia. After presenting about the current excellence of the UK in the Biosciences, he summarised his  concerns under “4Ps”. Dr Virginia Acha, Executive Director Research, Medical and Innovation at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, introduced current actions taken to address these upcoming issues.

Their opinion on the challenges of Brexit often converged, borrowing the “4Ps” from Sir Robert Lechler:

  • Pound (money, trade and funding): funding for research, but also the supply chain for patients and medicine could be affected.
  • Permission (Regulations): the relationship between the EMA and the UK Regulatory bodies will be altered, with most probably alignment.
  • Partnerships (Research): a key point is how to maintain partnerships in research with potentially new borders.
  • People: access to talents was presented as the most important issue from both panellists.

Both panellists gave a clear picture of the context and current state of affairs from each of their fields, which allowed constructive discussion when it came to questions. The inputs from the audience were indeed stimulating for both the panellists, and highlighted different perspectives on Brexit for everyone in the venue.

The fact that concerns surrounding Brexit are similar for both academics and practitioners in the industry is interesting, and the discussion today made us realise how close the two are in the Biosciences. Participants were made aware that access to academia does have a strong impact on industry, particularly through partnerships in Bioscience research. For students (especially those from the EU), this challenge also sheds new light on their future career prospects.

Sophie-Asako Xerri is an undergraduate student at the School of Bioscience Education, King’s College London.

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