• Question: What is your opinion on Brexit? Would it effect engineering?

    Asked by TheBrexitBacon to Fran, Peppe, Greg, Petros, Pooja on 14 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Greg Chance

      Greg Chance answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      Aaaaaaaagh! Is that a valid answer 😃. Seriously, brexit hasn’t even happened yet and it’s already had a hugely negative impact on science and engineering. Nearly all of my colleagues are from outside the UK and their certainty of a future here has been put into question. Some of my friends have already left the UK to work in other EU countries which is very sad.
      My job is paid for by EU money and also it is not clear what will happen in the future and how we will be able to bid for future projects. Very sad times.

    • Photo: Fran Zuch

      Fran Zuch answered on 14 Nov 2017:

      Brexit has been a tough one for Science and Engineering, I actually was at a student conference when it was announced and at least half of those students were from abroad (me technically as well) – needless to say we were all very sad. The impact will be huge like Greg said, much money has been received by EU funding, our startup also received money from the EU for part of our AI project. I don’t know what it might mean for me because I do like it here and there is no reason for me to leave at the moment. And I have to believe that we will stick together and work together and collaborate even after Brexit, it will just be a bit tougher. But I am sure we can sort it out

    • Photo: Giuseppe Cotugno

      Giuseppe Cotugno answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      This is a big question, let’s start from the second part. Brexit is the result of a long and difficult negotiation (since many people and countries are involved) whose outcome is unpredictable also because such thing was never tried before. Assuming the UK will not unleash the lawyers and reverse the decision, it is very likely that there will be an impact on engineering. Depending on what will be agreed and decided, businesses might have to cut on costs to sell into the European market because taxes on sales will be higher. This might mean more careful investments, less ambitious engineering projects or less jobs for engineers (it applies to everything else as well). At the same time engineers themselves might not want to work in UK anymore because of lack of jobs, lower pays, less interesting projects or some new rule introduced by the government. For example, European law forbids an employer to ask more than 8 hours a day of work for 5 days. After Brexit, the government could freely decide to change that if businesses are struggling with taxes and sales, so that they can pay the same salaries for more work. Some engineers might not like that and would rather go somewhere else. This is an hypothetical negative scenario, it is also possible that the UK would get quick agreements with other non-EU countries given the current pressure and things will not be as bad as they look. Given the current lack of information it is impossible to predict anything precisely other than “something will happen”.

      As for Brexit in itself, I think UK politicians have been very dishonest in promising something that cannot be delivered in the scheduled time and I am surprised nobody asked the question “assuming we leave, what we do next?” until the decision has been cast. That said, blaming UK citizens of “making wrong decisions” and assuming that Brexit is just a little distraction is equally bad leadership and bad behaviour. It disrespects the right of a Country of deciding by itself and it ignores the fact that more and more Europeans are severely unhappy of how the EU is managed. I would have much preferred to see Brexit ending up in nothing concrete as all the other anti-EU proposals across the continent have done so far, or to see a meaningful plan associated to Brexit that would make the proposal credible. As this has not happen, I can only hope that mutual wisdom would prevail over short term political gain and that this soap opera will turn into a serious discussion. As such kind of political proposals and examples of poor leadership are becoming more and more popular across the world anyway, I am not too surprised that this happened even in the UK. I am more concerned of what will be the next idea that will be proposed to the British public after Brexit and whether will be just believed or fairly criticized

    • Photo: Petros Papapanagiotou

      Petros Papapanagiotou answered on 15 Nov 2017:

      I think it does affect engineering (and research) already, even though it hasn’t actually happened yet. I believe it is always better to try and unite people and allow them to work together more easily. The more people you have, the faster you can build stuff, and the more ideas and innovations you can come up with! Maybe the EU is not perfect, but it did allow some absolutely amazing projects to take place around Europe. For example, thanks to the EU we have been able to combine data from the UK and 2 other European countries to come up with new ways to treat stroke patients. This would not have been possible without the EU. Engineer and research will still happen after Brexit, but many opportunities will be lost.