Evaluating the implications of Brexit for research collaboration and policy: A network analysis and simulation study

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Title: Evaluating the implications of Brexit for research collaboration and policy: A network analysis and simulation study
Authors: Garas, G
Cingolani, I
Patel, V
Panzarasa, P
Darzi, A
Athanasiou, T
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Objective To evaluate the role of the European Union (EU) as a research collaborator in the United Kingdom (UK)’s success as a global leader in healthcare research and innovation and quantify the impact that Brexit may have. Design Network and regression analysis of scientific collaboration, followed by simulation models based on alternative scenarios. Setting International real world collaboration network among all countries involved in robotic surgical research and innovation. Participants 772 organisations from industry and academia nested within 56 countries and connected through 2,397 collaboration links. Main outcome measures Research impact measured through citations, innovation value measured through the innovation index, and an array of attributes of social networks to measure brokerage and geographical entropy at national and international levels. Results Globally, the UK ranks third in robotic surgical innovation, and the EU constitutes its prime collaborator. Brokerage opportunities and collaborators’ geographical diversity are associated with a country’s research impact (c=211.320 and 244.527, respectively;p-value<0·01) and innovation (c=18.819 and 30.850, respectively;p-value<0·01). Replacing EU collaborators with United States (US)’ ones is the only strategy that could benefit the UK, but on the condition that US collaborators are chosen among the top-performing ones, which is likely to be very difficult and costly, at least in the short term. Conclusions This study suggests what has long been argued, namely that the UK-EU research partnership has been mutually beneficial and that its continuation represents the best possible outcome for both negotiating parties. However, the uncertainties raised by Brexit necessitate looking beyond the EU for potential research partners. In the short-term, the UK’s best strategy might be to try and maintain its academic links with the EU. In the longer-term, strategic relationships with research powerhouses including the US, China and India are likely to be crucial for the UK to remain a global innovation leader.
Issue Date: 10-Sep-2019
Date of Acceptance: 8-Jul-2019
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/71886
ISSN: 2044-6055
Publisher: BMJ Journals
Journal / Book Title: BMJ Open
Copyright Statement: This paper is embargoed until publication. Once published it will be available fully open access.
Sponsor/Funder: National Institute of Health Research
Publication Status: Accepted
Embargo Date: publication subject to indefinite embargo
Appears in Collections:Division of Surgery

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