Scoping the Impact of EU Membership on UK Health Research in the Context of the Ongoing ‘In or Out’ Debate

map of europe with stethoscope


The proposed ‘in or out’ referendum on the UK’s membership in the European Union (EU) will impact on all areas of public policy. The UK Government thus undertook a series of reviews on the balance of competencies between the UK and Europe in different areas to understand the benefits, costs and complementarities of EU membership.

In light of this, RAND Europe conceived this exploratory study to help frame the debate on future EU membership in the context of UK health research.


In undertaking this scoping work we sought to examine existing evidence about the effect of EU membership on health research in the UK.

The first phase of work was to establish the background and context of the issue through a rapid evidence assessment of literature on the costs and benefits of EU membership for health, and of specific studies that looked at UK health research supported by the EU.

The second phase was to develop a conceptual framework for understanding the research inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes for UK health research, and considering interactions with Europe. 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 exploring the implications for the UK health research system.

The final output of the project is a RAND report that examines the existing evidence base, develops a conceptual framework, and identifies areas for future research where gaps in the evidence base exist.


Research Team

Daniel Brooker
Siobhán Ní Chonaill
Jonathan Grant