Britain will drop out of the ‘Champion’s League’ of science if the government fails to negotiate a Brexit deal with access to European research programmes, 72 leading scientists have warned.

Sir Paul Nurse, the Nobel Prize-winning Director of the Francis Crick Institute, has urged the government to negotiate access to Europe’s new €100 billion science programme, following the response of research group leaders at the Crick.

The call comes as the UK Government considers establishing 'credible and ambitious' alternative schemes to support international collaboration. In a survey of the Crick’s research lab heads, there was virtually unanimous support for the UK to continue participating in Europe’s science programmes after Brexit, with none saying the UK should develop its own scheme.

Many of the Crick’s scientific leaders expressed doubts that the UK would be able to provide a credible alternative in a reasonable time frame, citing Horizon 2020's high quality peer review system, established wide collaborative networks and reputation for excellence.

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