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Uncertainty boosts Brexit jitters for U.K. scientists

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Science  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, pp. 1092-1093
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6419.1092

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U.K. scientists dreading the country's impending departure from the European Union, known as Brexit, now face possible outcomes ranging from undesirable to potentially disastrous. On 11 December, Parliament will vote on a withdrawal agreement that lays out the terms of a costly but smooth departure from the European Union, starting in March 2019. If the agreement is rejected, the United Kingdom could crash out instead, triggering chaos at the border, food shortages, and economic hardship. A no-deal exit would also immediately void many research agreements. Regardless of how the United Kingdom departs, it will have to negotiate new science agreements with the European Union and come up with a new EU immigration policy. A long-awaited government white paper on immigration is expected to be published this month. Two and a half years after the divisive popular referendum that launched the Brexit process, some scientists hold out hope for a reprieve: A growing number of politicians are agitating for a second referendum that might reverse the first one.