Lib Dems highlight “Brexit Brain Drain”

The Liberal Democrats have discovered that more than than 1,300 academics from the European Union have left British universities in the past year, prompting concerns of a Brexit brain drain.

A recent analysis by the Russell Group, which represents 24 of the UK’s leading universities, found that there are 24,860 members of staff from other EU countries at UK universities, making up 23% of all academics.

Across the country there has been a 30% increase in the number of EU academics quitting over the past year compared to two years ago, according to figures released following Freedom of Information requests.

Edinburgh University suffered the third highest loss of staff of all those shown in the UK, with 96 EU academics leaving in 2016-2017, (up from 76 in 2015-2016 and 62 the previous year).

St Andrews have seen 51 EU academics leave in 2016-2017 and Dundee lost 24 of these staff members.

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrat General Election campaign manager said:

The surge in academics from Europe leaving our universities since Brexit is an alarming trend.

Our universities thrive when they can be open to the talent from Europe and around the world.

Students and staff in Scotland are living with uncertainty hanging over their future. Theresa May must bear responsibility for her stubborn refusal to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living here.

The Liberal Democrats will stand up for the rights of EU citizens and give people the final say, with a chance to reject a bad Brexit deal and remain in the EU.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • The majority of Tory MPs didn’t want to leave the EU either, but they believed it had to be a decision made by the people so as they promised they gave us a referendum on the subject and implemented our decision by triggering article 50. If the lib dems weren’t committed to honouring the people’s decision whatever it was, then surely they should not have put it to them in a referendum in the first place? My question is why did they do this, do you think that makes the party look dishonest and do you expect this to damage the party on Thursday?

    Don’t get me wrong, I can totally understand why the lib dems would think being a member of the EU was so important that our membership of it should be nonnegotiable, but if that was the parties true feelings why on earth would its MPs put it to a public vote in the first place?

  • The LibDem ‘analysis’ is deeply flawed, however, given the sample data discovered and the content of the Russell Group briefing note, it serves to indicate that more research needs to be done firstly to determine whether the top-level findings from Edinburgh really are significant or just a function of other factors and secondly what the impact is likely to be on research (and it’s funding) post Brexit.

  • It’s not just academics from other EU countries. An English friend of ours, a leading cancer researcher, is leaving the country specifically because of Brexit despite having won a major multi-year grant award shortly before the Brexit vote.

  • Peter Watson 7th Jun '17 - 12:24pm

    Are there any figures for academics from non-EU countries, e.g. China, India, USA, Australia, etc.?

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