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More than 150 top scientists explain why leaving the EU would be a disaster


Stephen Hawking is among more than 150 eminent scientists who have come out in favour of staying in the European Union, arguing that leaving the EU could be a “disaster for science”.

The full letter follows:

Sir, The EU has boosted UK science in two crucial ways. First, increased funding has raised greatly the level of European science as a whole and of the UK in particular because we have a competitive edge. Second, we now recruit many of our best researchers from continental Europe, including younger ones who have obtained EU grants and have chosen to move with them here. Being able to attract and fund the most talented Europeans assures the future of British science and also encourages the best scientists elsewhere to come here.

Switzerland pays into the EU and was a popular destination for young scientists. It now has limited access to EU funds because it voted to restrict the free movement of workers, and is desperately trying to find alternative ways to attract young talent. If the UK leaves the EU and there is a loss of freedom of movement of scientists between the UK and Europe, it will be a disaster for UK science and universities. Investment in science is as important for the long-term prosperity and security of the UK as investment in infrastructure projects, farming or manufacturing; and the free movement of scientists is as important for science as free trade is for market economics.

We are all scientists, mathematicians, engineers and economists in Cambridge, are all Fellows of the Royal Society and are writing in an individual capacity.

Sir Alan Fersht

Michael Akam

Ali Alavi

Ross Anderson

Shankar Balasubramanian

Andrew Balmford

David Barford

John D. Barrow

Michael Bate

Sir Patrick Bateson

Sir David Baulcombe

Jeremy J. Baumberg

Harshad Badeshia

Michael Bickle

Mariann Bienz

Sir Tom Blundell

Martin Bobrow

Alexander Boksenberg, CBE

William Bonfield CBE

Paul Brakefield

Andrea H. Brand

Kenneth Bray

Barbara Bretscher

Mark S. Bretscher

Lord Alec Broers

L. Michael Brown

Malcolm Burrows

Chris Calladine

Sir Roy Calne

Michael Cates

Anthony K. Cheetham

Jennifer A. Clack

Jane Clarke

Nicola Clayton

Tim Clutton-Brock

John Coates

Andrew Crawford

Jon Crowcroft

Sir Partha Dasgupta

John Davidson

Nicholas Davies

Anthony Dickinson

Christopher Dobson

Dame Athene Donald

John Duncan

Peter Duncumb

George Efstathiou

Phil Evans

Barry Everitt

Andrew Fabian

Douglas Fearon

Malcolm Ferguson-Smith

John Field

James Fitzsimons

Norman Fleck

Ian Fleming

Derek Fray

Ray Freeman

Daan Frenkel

Sir Richard Friend

Zoubin Ghahramani

Gary Gibbons

Gerry Gilmore

Keith Glover

Michel Goedert

Raymond E. Goldstein

Michael Gordon

Sir Timothy Gowers

Michael Green

Clare Grey

Gillian M. Griffiths

Geoffrey Grimmett

Jean-Pierre Hansen

Roger Hardie

William Harris

Stephen Hawking, CH

Sir Brian Heap

Volker Heine

Richard Henderson

Richard Hills

John Hinch

Christine Holt

Andy Hopper

Archie Howie CBE

Sir Colin Humphreys

Christopher Hunter

Herbert Huppert

Robin Irvine

Martin H Johnson

Richard Jackson

Steve Jackson

Brian Josephson

Frank Kelly CBE

Robert C. Kennicutt, Jr

Eric Keverne

John Kilmartin

Anthony J. Kirby

David Klenerman

Sir Aaron Klug OM

Tony Kouzarides

Sir Peter Lachmann

Ronald Laskey CBE

Simon Laughlin

Peter Lawrence

Andrew Leslie

Malcolm Longair

Jan Löwe

Ruth Lynden-Bell

Sir David MacKay

Michael McIntyre

Simon Maddrell

Lord Robert Mair CBE

Nicholas Manton

Paul Midgley

Keith Moffatt

Brian C. J. Moore

Sean Munro

Kiyoshi Nagai

Sir Stephen O’Rahilly

KJ Patel

Ian Paterson

Karalyn Patterson

Timothy Pedley

Hugh Pelham

Sir Bruce Ponder

Michael Proctor

John Pyle

Randy J. Read

Lord Martin Rees OM

Trevor W. Robbins CBE

John Robson

David Ron

Daniel St Johnston

Eckhard K.H Salje

Jeremy K. M. Sanders CBE

Wolfram Schultz

Pat Simpson

Henning Sirringhaus

Geoffrey L Smith

Maria Grazia Spillantini

Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer

Simon Tavaré

John C. Taylor

Paul Townsend

Dame Jean Thomas

Sir John Meurig Thomas

Roger Thomas

John Todd

Sir John Walker

Mark Warner

Bryan Webber

Nigel Weiss

Sir Mark Welland

Robert White

Sir Gregory Winter

Eric Wolff

Daniel Wolpert