European Voices: Portugal‎

The UK belongs in the EU

Like myself, UK-based researchers and academics thrive in the interconnected Union.

Frederico DuarteDesign writer, curator, PhD student

Lisbon – I’m a full-time PhD student at the V&A and Birkbeck, University of London. I’m studying under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership, a consortium that promotes collaborative studentships between universities and museums, libraries, archives and heritage organisations in the UK. In 2014 I applied for one of these projects put forward by my supervisors, a German curator and a Brazilian scholar. They live and work in London.

When I applied I lived and worked in Lisbon. As an EU citizen I could apply for this 4-year, fully-funded, full-time studentship, but as a non-UK citizen or resident I was not eligible for its maintenance award (an obstacle I was told then, which was introduced by the first Cameron government). So I needed to find additional funding and I did; from Portugal’s Science and Technology Foundation. Today I still live, and now study, in Lisbon. But also frequent London, where I come every six weeks or so to discuss my work and be exposed to the kind of sensorial and intellectual stimuli only a global city like London can provide.

I am living proof of how, according to a Royal Society 2015 study, the UK is a net beneficiary of EU research funding: “UK scientists”, the study states, “have earned more back in EU research grants (€8.8bn, 2007 – 2013) than, analyses suggest, it has contributed to EU research expenditure (indicative figure of €5.4bn, 2007 – 2013, reported by the ONS).” My EU-funded research will also benefit the UK’s (and the world’s) oldest and largest design museum.

Like many other European citizens, the often unexpected triangulations of my academic, professional and personal life are made possible because of the European Union. In spite of all its flaws, it is still a project worth discussing, working and living for. From within. Despite being out of Schengen, out of the Euro and insisting on other exceptions and idiosyncrasies such as driving on the other side of the road and weighing people in stones, the UK belongs in the EU.

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