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The objective of this study was to examine existing evidence about the effect of EU membership on health research in the UK and to develop a conceptual approach for assessing the costs and benefits of membership. The first phase of work was to establish the background and context of the issue through a rapid evidence assessment of literature. The second phase was to develop a conceptual framework for understanding the research inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes for UK health research. This framework was then discussed, amended and validated through a small number of scoping interviews with UK health researchers and funders across different health subject areas with varying degrees of experience of EU-funded health research. The final phase of work was to develop future scenarios for UK health research looking at different possible arrangements between the UK and the EU and to analyse each scenario to judge how the current strengths of the UK health research system could be preserved should there be any change in the UK's current membership of the EU. UK health research benefits from EU support through funding (the UK is a net recipient of support relative to population size), 'softer' elements such as skills and labour, and access to collaborative networks, and wider strategic value from European engagement. The impact of the UK withdrawing from EU membership is difficult to assess as it would depend greatly upon the terms and conditions of any such change.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Contextualising the debate on UK health research on the EU

  • Chapter Three

    Conceptual framework

  • Chapter Four

    The future of UK health research under different EU membership scenarios

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusions

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the Policy Research Programme in the Department of Health conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.