IFST has set out its challenges for Brexit on maintaining access to skills, research funding and collaboration to ensure a competitive and innovative food system. Specifically, we have called for:

  • A fit-for purpose legislative framework.
  • Research funding of an appropriate level to drive scientific discovery and innovation
  • Government, academia and industry UK food system have access to appropriate skills in food science and technology
  • Supply of sufficient safe, affordable, nutritious and sustainable food

Some news to date has been positive – researchers have been guaranteed research funding for successful bids, e.g. under Horizon 2020, beyond the date of departure from the EU. However, longer term involvement terms for EU research participation is uncertain, as is the access to skills and people required for the science and innovation needs of researchers and the food industry, and what the future legislative environment will consist of post-Brexit. The government has published a paper outlining its broad ambitions in the research areas, “Collaboration on science and innovation – a future partnership paper” (; details are currently vague. For the IFST response to this paper see here.

What IFST is doing about it

IFST co-organised (with nutrition organisations, British Nutrition Foundation, Nutrition Society, and British Dietetics Association) an invite-only Brexit summit, held in early November, to explore the likely impact of Brexit on UK food regulations and the regulatory environment. A joint report on this event will be available shortly.

We would also like to hear from members and other food science professionals, with their views on how we can ensure we maximise the opportunities and minimise the disruption from leaving the EU. If you would like to share these views, write an opinion piece, or have any other comments, please email John at