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Protect EU-UK medical research post Brexit

31 January 2020

Brexit calls into question Europe’s capacity to meet today’s health challenges – an ageing population, the rising cost of chronic diseases and the deadly risk of antimicrobial resistance – they all demand broad international collaboration.

In a foreword published today, George Griffin, President of the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) and fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, has called on political leaders to ensure that researchers and patients in the EU and UK continue to benefit from the UK’s full participation in EU research activities –including its next research framework programme.

The foreword introduces a declaration issued by FEAM to explain the added-value of EU-UK collaboration on medical research, for researchers, patients and citizens. This Statement, first published in 2018, has been republished with an updated foreword to coincide with the UK leaving the EU on 31 January 2020.

Brexit could have a significant impact on the future of European Health Research. It is one of the urgent topics to be discussed today in the European Parliament at an event convened by FEAM and the European Biomedical Alliance (BioMedAlliance). The event is hosted by MEPs Maria da Graça Carvalho (EPP), Petra de Sutter (Greens/EFA), and Cristian Bușoi (EPP).

“Students, researchers and patients across Europe have benefited from broad collaboration under the EU’s framework programme, and it is our responsibility to ensure this opportunity for future generations,” said Stefan Constantinescu, Vice-President of FEAM and a Fellow of the Belgian and Romanian Academies of Medicines.

In the Statement, FEAM warned against the possibility that the UK could leave the EU without a deal on medical research. However, with the 31 January deadline for Brexit now in view, the ‘No Deal’ scenario seems to have been avoided, but further negotiations, and great risk are evident.

Therefore, it is important to remind political leaders about the potential harmful effects that a weakened research community would have for patients and European citizens,” says Bernard Charpentier, past President of FEAM, and elected President of the French Academy of Medicine. Prof. Charpentier said that the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) symbolizes the complex European-level collaboration needed for excellent research and education.

“Even with Brexit, the EU and UK should work to maintain the free flow of information and talent for the ultimate welfare of patients across the continent,” concluded Maria do Ceu Machado, Vice president of FEAM, and a Fellow of the Portuguese Academy of Medicine.


About the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM)

The Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) is the umbrella group of Academies of Medicine, Medical Sections of Academies of Sciences and Academies of Pharmacy. FEAM promotes cooperation between national Academies and provides a platform to formulate their collective voice on matters concerning medicine, health and biomedical research with a European dimension. Its mission is to extend to the European authorities the advisory role that national Academies exercise in their own countries on those matters.



Contact Information

Professor George Griffin

Department of Infectious Diseases and Medicine St. George’s University of London UK

Email: george.griffin@feam.eu

Phone: +32 (0) 2 792 39 56

For general enquiries

Dr Rosa Castro

FEAM Senior Scientific Policy Officer

Email: rosa.castro@feam.eu

Phone: +32 (0) 2 792 39 56

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