Expression of support to the UK
Dear ENTER Members
The UK Brexit decision comes as a deep shock to us all. We are in dangerous times. The sea is rough. We must fight to keep the doors open. But as an initial reaction, as Chair of ENTER Mental Health, may I express my deepest solidarity with our three ENTER partners in the UK: Middlesex University, the Mental Health Foundation and the Social Dimensions of Health Institute. We stand by your side in these difficult times.
For ENTER, the symbolic implications are enormous. ENTER was founded in London in the year 2000: that is where our first Annual General Meeting took place. UK partners have been present and active in the Steering Group from the very start, right up to the present year. The first ENTER Chairperson was Peter Ryan from Middlesex. Peter remained in this position, making major contributions to the network in many different areas, for over 10 years. Peter was followed by Carmel Clancy in her role as Vice-Chair in charge of training. With Perth in 2006 and SDHI in 2016, Scotland has hosted two ENTER conferences. In 2016, the UK is the only country to have three members in our network (Poland and Denmark each have two members). The Mental Health Foundation joined us only in 2015, but already their representatives have made a real impact in our AGMs and Conferences. Our UK partners have been present in all of ENTER’s major research projects, from the very beginning. They have truly contributed to building a better Europe.
After the shock, let us look at the implications. What do we know? With regard to our membership agreement, our current UK members can continue to be members: “Member Institutions from countries that are members of the European Union will count for at least two thirds of the total number of Member Institutions”. However, with regard to accessing funding and participating in projects, things will no doubt be more complicated. Will the UK withdraw totally from the EU, and thus no longer be eligible for EU funding but eventually able to participate in projects if they bring their own funding? Will the UK seek to have certain aspects in common with Iceland and Norway, allowing them to participate in certain activities, including research and training? What will Scotland do? Stay in the UK or withdraw?
And what are the implications for our current projects? In 2016, ENTER has already submitted two projects for funding, both of which have UK partners. Camille_LA has 7 partners, 2 of which are UK institutions (Middlesex and SDHI). ERICA has 9 partners: again, 2 of them are UK institutions (again Middlesex and SDHI). In addition, the St Andrews research workshop decided, amongst others, on submitting a project in answer to the HORIZON 2020 call with Middlesex as lead partner. And we still have the GOLD project, again led by Middlesex, on our list of projects on hold, waiting for an appropriate call. What are the Brexit implications for these projects? Should we immediately start looking for substitute EU-member ENTER partners “just in case”? Should SDHI and Middlesex begin looking for other sources of funding in order to remain in these projects?
ENTER will have to decide.
But, again, beyond the shock, let us remain strong. ENTER goes forward. United. Together.
Chair of ENTER