Just as at every agricultural research facility in the country, there is an air of uncertainty hanging over the Moredun Research Institute.
Chief executive Julie Fitzpatrick said although scientists were continuing to deliver on EU-funded joint projects, it was unlikely they would be able to take the lead in the way they had with the soon to be completed €9 million Paragone project which had investigated vaccines against parasites such as mites and worms.
Prof Fitzpatrick said: “Although it is unlikely that Moredun will have the opportunity to lead very large EU projects in the near future, there is a determination among our scientists to maintain their close links with European partners and to continue to collaborate and seek joint funding.”
There are concerns too about the availability of suitably skilled scientists post-Brexit.
There are 140 people employed at Moredun of whom 13 per cent are non-UK EU nationals.
Prof Fitzpatrick said: “Many have worked here in Scotland for many years. Their appointments have been in areas where specific skills are vital including virology, pathology and science relating to anti-microbial resistance.
“It is very important that we are able in the future to attract scientists from across the world.”
Nearer to home Moredun has entered a strategic partnership with SRUC on a number of research areas.
These will take time to develop but in the meantime SRUC’s Veterinary Surveillance Group, led by George Caldow, has relocated to the Moredun site.
SRUC will still have three regional sites for such work but Prof Fitzpatrick said the advantages of having veterinary surveillance staff working alongside teams of scientists in well-equipped laboratories was obvious.
The Animal and Plant Health Agency was also to operate from the site.