'We're at breaking point': will UK scientists' big ideas survive Brexit?

Funding for blue skies research is falling in favour of work aligned with the government’s strategic priorities

Professor Jurriaan Ton, a Dutch expert in plant science at Sheffield University, feels British. His son was born here, his family love Yorkshire, and after more than a decade of producing highly cited research in the UK he has invested “massively” in the resources needed to make his blue skies research a success. But if he finds himself frozen out of grants from the European Research Council (ERC) after Brexit, he will hit a brick wall.

“If I am no longer eligible to apply for ERC funding here then the next big grant I apply for will be with a European university, and I will move when I get it,” he says.

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