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Europe Backs Stem Cell Funding

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posted on Jul, 24 2006 @ 09:38 PM
Will top U.S. scientists move overseas in the face of funding hurdles in place in the U.S. some fear that Europe's more liberal rules will entice scientists in the U.S. to seek the friendlier UK for a more unfettered access to research opportunities.
The United States is risking a "brain drain", in which its scientists will flock across the Atlantic, after the EU reached a "historic" deal yesterday on human embryonic stem cells. A week after George Bush limited federal funds for the highly sensitive area, the EU warned Washington that "disillusioned" US scientists will want to make the most of Europe's more liberal rules.

Lord Sainsbury, Britain's science minister, said: "There are a group of American scientists who are very disillusioned. In this field we have seen US scientists coming to the UK. If the US continues to take this very negative position I think within this field of regenerative medicine we will see scientists come from America and from other parts of the world, who would have gone to America, to the UK instead."
His remarks came after EU science ministers agreed to allow part of the union's expanded £37bn science budget to be spent on research into human embryonic stem cells. Berlin had attempted to block the funding on the grounds that it did not want its taxpayers' money to fund sensitive research which is subject to strict limits in Germany.

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The U.S. stands to lose some of its sharpest minds in this research field over the issue of stem cell research. But Europe's position is not without a price, Lord Sainsbury's move has caused quite an uproar among other european countries opposed to stem cell research.

European divisions were exposed at yesterday's ministerial meeting in Brussels. Poland, Austria, Malta, Slovakia and Lithuania voted against stem cell research. They were opposed yesterday by France, Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, showing that the divisions were not simply between Catholic and non-Catholic countries.

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