Majority of AIRTO members favour UK remaining in the EU

Most AIRTO members consider potential opportunities from leaving EU to be outweighed by the threats

AIRTO, the Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations, has recently polled its members to establish their position on the EU Referendum, to take place on 23 June 2016. The findings show:

  • 82% of AIRTO members expressed a preference for remaining, 9% are still to decide and the remainder are split equally between neutrality and preferring to leave.
  • The main concerns from a decision for the UK to leave would be:
    • Reduced opportunities for collaboration (cited by >60%)
    • Damage to business, operations and prosperity of clients (cited by >50%)
    • Reduced access to finance for research and innovation (cited by >40%), although in the event of a Leave decision >60% stressed the vital importance of buying back into H2020 at our current level of engagement.


Whilst AIRTO’s community in the Innovation, Research and Technology Sector embraces disruptive innovation, and leaving the EU could be classed as disruptive innovation, it is evident that most of our members consider the threats posed by disruption on such a scale to outweigh the opportunities. This outcome is consistent with the findings of the CBI across business and industry more generally.

See the detailed survey results

Note to Editors

Non-profit distributing RTOs and PSREs form a substantial part of the UK’s thriving Innovation, Research and Technology (IRT) sector, of which AIRTO represents approximately 80%. The IRT sector as a whole continues to punch well above its weight in the national economy, as shown by an independent study commissioned by AIRTO and carried out by Oxford Economics in 2014. The IRT sector:

  • has tripled in size to £6.9Bn per annum since 2006
  • consumes just 0.3% of Government spend
  • displays productivity 45% higher than the national average