Gransnet forums

News & politics

Cambridge University astrophysicist loses Esa project role over Brexit row

(79 Posts)
GagaJo Sat 21-May-22 08:22:15

A Cambridge University astrophysicist studying the Milky Way and hoping to play a major part in the European Space Agency’s (Esa) next big project has been forced to hand over his coordinating role on the scheme after the row over Northern Ireland’s Brexit arrangements put science in the firing line.

Nicholas Walton, a research fellow at the Institute of Astronomy, reluctantly passed his leadership role in the €2.8m pan-European Marie Curie Network research project to a colleague in the Netherlands on Friday.

The European Commission had written notifying him UK scientists cannot hold leadership roles because the UK’s membership of the flagship £80bn Horizon Europe (HE) funding network has not been ratified.

Whitewavemark2 Sat 21-May-22 08:37:50

Told you so.

Project fear manifesting itself as project Truth

volver Sat 21-May-22 09:06:22

I know I should comment on this - physics, European consortia, etc. But the whole thing is so blooming dispiriting.

But you know, blue passports. 😒

MaizieD Sat 21-May-22 09:32:24

Bullying EU. How dare they not let us do things because we're not a member of the club any more..

Do you think that people voted Leave because they enjoy having a sense of victimhood?

(No-one who voted for Brexit is going to read or comment on this thread.)

volver Sat 21-May-22 09:35:57

I think people voted for Brexit because they had no idea what it meant and thought that they were voting for something in particular, but that thing was never on the ballot paper.

Recently, Roger Daltrey was in the news saying this wasn't the Brexit he voted for. Well, it is. This is Brexit.

Boz Sat 21-May-22 09:37:06

People who voted leave have one (or both) feet in the past. Britain is on the road to nowhere; encourage your grandkids to emigrate.

volver Sat 21-May-22 09:37:35

Do you think people who voted for Brexit might come on this thread and complain about elite astrophysicists, who do they think they are?

It's democracy, innit? Get over it. You lost.

Urmstongran Sat 21-May-22 09:43:20

Liz Truss today:

“If I could go back to 2016, I would vote to leave,” she tells The Telegraph, mulling over the week that was in her palatial Foreign Office workspace. “What I’ve seen in both my job in trade and my role as Foreign Secretary is the new freedom and impetus that having an independent trade policy and independent foreign policy has enabled us to do. And also, the portents of doom haven’t come to fruition.”

But were you not one of the doomsayers yourself, Foreign Secretary? “When the evidence changes, I change my mind,” she responds. “I think that’s the right thing to do.”

I’m not surprised the Guardian takes a different slant on Brexit. I will see if this story is in the Telegraph later. A different perspective might be interesting what?

volver Sat 21-May-22 09:46:05

Look up Horizon, its not just the Guardian. We are well and truly side-lined. But ach well, its only astrophysics.

Who do I think has got the measure of things? World class scientists or Liz Truss?

Answers on a postcard.

growstuff Sat 21-May-22 09:49:00

There's a reason Queen's Brian May (with a PhD in astrophysics) wrote "I’m dreaming of a Brexit-free Christmas…
I wonder if I’m the only one praying tonight for a miracle which will make Brexit, deal or no deal, simply go away…. ? The legacy of the vain, arrogant and badly-advised…"

Or listen to another astrophysicist:

volver Sat 21-May-22 09:52:58

Brian's a professor of particle physics. He just likes standing on picturesque hill tops with the wind in his hair wink

Petera Sat 21-May-22 09:53:26

Urmstongran “When the evidence changes it suits my ambitions better, I change my mind,” she responds. “I think that’s the right thing to do.”

There, fixed that for you.

MaizieD Sat 21-May-22 09:53:39

Oh dear. Ug's quoting from the Brexit comic again.

growstuff Sat 21-May-22 09:57:09

Liz Truss really isn't the sharpest knife in the box and she seems to prove it every time she opens her mouth.

British science has already lost billions in research grants and the damage hasn't even really begun, as British scientists are emigrating and EU students and scientists prefer not to come to the UK. The UK will be the loser, as it's much easier for EU scientists to collaborate with each other rather than a third country.

growstuff Sat 21-May-22 09:59:26


Brian's a professor of particle physics. He just likes standing on picturesque hill tops with the wind in his hair wink

My mistake :-(, but the message's the same and Brian May really is an astrophysicist.

volver Sat 21-May-22 10:03:04

Absolutely growstuff. May went back to Uni to finish his doctorate, I'm full of admiration for that. The video link of Brian Cox is very good.

It's my passion for accuracy wink

Zonne Sat 21-May-22 10:03:18

This would be the Liz Truss who said that Brexit would not have any serious impact in Ireland…it would merely “affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks”?

The same Liz Truss who said remaining in the single market was vital for Nothern Ireland?

She’s a weathervane, twisting whichever way the Potential Tory leadership wind blows.

growstuff Sat 21-May-22 10:04:36

I first came across him on "The Sky at Night" about 10 years ago and assumed he was an astrophysicist. Mea culpa!

Petera Sat 21-May-22 10:06:42

There was a general article about this on R4 this morning about 7.50.

volver Sat 21-May-22 10:06:54

Oh I don't think it does his media career any harm at all for people to think he's a star man smile. I think he did a lot of his academic work at CERN. But he is a good role model for science IMHO.

Urmstongran Sat 21-May-22 10:10:10

I’m not a big fan of Truss. I think she’s a lightweight tbh. However she’s been negotiating with the EU up close and personal. I think she’s entitled to a changed viewpoint based on her personal experiences these last few months. She will be aware of more than most of us commenting on here.

OakDryad Sat 21-May-22 10:12:30

In the run up to the referendum, I was reading all the broadsheets to get a balanced view. I recall this very issue being discussed, the danger to scientific research funding and operations. It will not come as any surprise to people who looked beyond bus slogans and the other lies of Vote Leave. Another sad day in the constant stream of Brexit disasters.

GagaJo Sat 21-May-22 10:17:45

I'm glad I'm older and not going to be around much longer, although I worry for my DGS. The UK is a s**t show. Huge poverty. NHS down the toilet. Education failing a huge amount of children. Bee pesticides legal. Add the world on fire from global warming...

It really is doomsday.

Urmstongran Sat 21-May-22 10:25:09

I think the rubber dinghy arrivees would totally disagree with you GagaJo.

Glorianny Sat 21-May-22 10:26:10

Well look on the bright side- we may have Brexit but we have Liz Truss negotiating with the EU grin- oh hang on Liz Truss!!! shock confused