I would not really call it a brain drain when you take into account that ECMWF is a independent intergovernmental organisation not under the auspice of the EU, those employed are from across all member nations and outside the EU.
Moving functions away from the UK was a given as a new super computer was needed to replace the one at Reading. its been on the cards since they published their strategy paper out to 2025. but it would be naïve of me not to think that Brexit contributed to some of the decisions to relocate as majority of members are also part of the EU.
This has noting to do with the additional super computer built in Bologna, A101: that was just a technical project, whereas this one is purely political.
The ECMWF is not an EU agency indeed and so initially Brexit was not to have influence on its continued functioning from the UK, but since the ECMWF is the entrusted entity for the EU's Copernicus programme, it needs to comply with EU law, meaning there needs to be unquestioned European oversight and jurisdiction on its daily operations.
As the UK increasingly distances itself from any EU rules and signals it does not want to guarantee maintaining even the current levels of protection of data in future, the EU memberstates of ECMWF have together decided to jointly insist on a relocation to EU territory.
As such, the type of Brexit persued by the UK government very much killed off Reading... welcome to Toulouse, France or Vienna, Austria ECMWF (and not Bologna, proving the 2 are moves are indeed not linked).
Besides, A101, should the UK not renounce on its membership of the ECMWF too?
I mean, people voted for Brexit and allegedly knew it was not just about the political union in the EU, so it should be included, just as other non-EU organisations like EEA, EASA, EAEC, ECHR etc were picked off afterwards by Brexiteers, Maybe somebody just forgot about Reading, UK... but clearly the EU didn't: OUT is OUT indeed, and there will be consequences.
Last edited by sabenapilot
on Sun May 31, 2020 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.