CapX has a cogently argued piece from Matt Ridley on the reasons why Britains science endeavours would be benefited by #Brexit.
Britain – for its size – is probably the world’s leading scientific country. We have less than 1% of the world’s population, but 15% of the most highly cited scientific papers, and more Nobel prize winners than any other European country. We are world leaders in biotechnology and digital technology and our greatest potential collaborators and potential rivals in both fields are in Asia and America, not Europe.
So it is vital that we remain open to the world, not stuck in little Europe. A regional customs union protected by tariff walls and run from a central bureaucracy is a 1950s idea – an analogue project in a digital era, as Michael Gove puts it. In an age when container shipping has collapsed the cost of intercontinental trade; when the internet and budget airlines and Skype have made it as easy to collaborate with Asia and America and Africa as in Europe, regionalism makes less sense.
Harmonising standards is a good idea, yes, but doing so at the regional level makes no sense. In fintech, in car making, in ag-tech, in digital, in biotech – the action is at the global level, where our voice is just 1/28th of a seat. We could be chairing these bodies.
Science is a global activity. Every time you go to a lab you meet people who originated everywhere and anywhere, yet all speak the same language, by which I don’t mean English, I mean reason, I mean a love of evidence, a passion for truth. Britain’s been an especially welcoming country for scientists. Our labs are more diverse even than our premier league teams.