BREXIT is causing “damage across the board” to UK science, including missing out on more than £1 billion in funding, campaigners have warned.

Mike Galsworthy, founder and director of the group Scientists for EU, also said uncertainty over the Northern Ireland Protocol means the UK has yet to participate as planned in a key European research programme which is now under way.

He outlined the concerns in an online event How Brexit Messed Up UK Science, which was held by the European Movement in Scotland.

Galsworthy said the threat of a no-deal Brexit and uncertainty over UK participation in European programmes had led to a “huge chilling effect” on investment.

READ MORE: Warning of Tory 'post-Brexit limbo' if import checks delayed again

He said: “The long and short of it meaning that by the time we got to 2021, and [EU research programme] Horizon 2020 had completed, we had missed out on some £1.5 billion of funds. 

“So tens of thousands of collaborations - we were 30% lower than what we should have been at over that time period.”

Galsworthy, who has a background in science and health policy, also pointed to the example of the regulatory body European Medicines Agency (EMA), which relocated from London to Amsterdam in January 2020 after Brexit.

He said: “When we were in the EU, the EMA was based in London. 

“There were about 900 very well paid jobs associated with that because we were doing the approvals for the whole single market of medicines, which is second only in the world to America.

“And it had tens of thousands of business visits per annum, the overall turnover was over £300million, and there was attendant industry set up around it. We were running that show.”

But he added: “It went off to Amsterdam and they got all of that business and we lost all that power and prestige and tax money and talent and industry around it.”

Galsworthy said leaving the EU had impacted on the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK body which approves medicines.

Last year it was announced the agency planned to cut up to 300 jobs after Brexit.

READ MORE: Brexit has hammered UK trade with Germany, according to analysis

"Because it is now the approval body for a much smaller market, it doesn’t have nearly as much custom and business as it used to when it was in conjunction with the EMA,” Galsworthy said.

“Is this not ridiculous that just about a year ago Boris Johnson was saying we have got our MHRA which is so much better - then sneakily they had to reduce the size of our excellent medicines approval agency, as we just don’t have the volume of business need as we did before when we were in the EU.”

He added: “What we see in summary to date is a lot of damage across the board - from our universities, to our university exchanges, to our collaboration potential, to big businesses coming here, to our foothold in the regulatory environment in which our businesses operate.”

Galsworthy also said because issues over the Northern Ireland Protocol have not been resolved, the UK is yet to be formally accepted on key funding programmes for research and innovation such as Horizon Europe.

READ MORE: We ask MPs at the Scottish Tory conference to list Brexit benefits for Scotland

“The EU countries and the associated member countries that buy in, they have all started on Horizon Europe,” he said.

“Some UK institutions have under certain lines started and our Government has had to fund them instead of the EU because we are not fully on board.

“But a lot of other institutions and teams are simply missing out on the first one-and-half years of grants now on Horizon Europe, as we wait to see what happens with the Northern Ireland Protocol.”

The UK Government has been contacted for comment.