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Universities face ‘brain drain’ after Brexit, survey reveals

Universities face ‘brain drain’ after Brexit, survey reveals Science & Technology World Website


Universities face a "brain drain" following Brexit it is feared, as 40 per cent of UK academics say they are “more likely to consider leaving Britain" after the vote to leave the European Union.

Three-quarters of continental EU academics in the country said they are now more likely to leave, according to a University and College Union (UCU) survey of over 1,000 lecturers and professors in UK higher education. 

Sally Hunt, general secretary of  UCU, said: “I am deeply worried that so many academics already know of staff leaving as a result of the Brexit vote, and that three-quarters of EU nationals are now considering leaving the UK."

Of academics leaving the UK, 29 per cent of respondents said they already know of some that have already left and 44 per cent said they know of academics who have lost access to research funding as a direct result of the Brexit vote.

The majority of respondents, 90 per cent, said they think Brexit will have a negative impact on the UK higher education sector.

UCU repeated its call for the government to guarantee ‘the right to remain’ for EU staff currently working in the UK.

The survey also asked about attitudes to the Higher Education and Research Bill, which will be debated in the House of Lords on Monday.   

Four in five academics have said that government plans to give new education providers degree awarding powers along with a university title will have a negative impact on higher education in the UK, a survey by YouGov has revealed.

Of those surveyed, three-quarters also mentioned the bill’s plan to link the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) to tuition fees will trigger a negative impact for higher education.

Of the proposed TEF metrics for assessing teaching quality in universities, almost two thirds said that ‘student satisfaction’ would be an ‘ineffective’ or ‘very ineffective’ measure of teaching quality.

Ms Hunt added: “The government must focus its full attention on dealing with the impacts of Brexit and shelve the divisive HE Bill.

“Its first act should be to try and retain the talented academics working in this country by guaranteeing EU staff already working in the UK the right to remain.”

UCU said "the findings have reinforced the case for shelving the HE bill" and "allowing universities to focus on dealing with issues forecasted to be caused by Brexit".

Ms Hunt continued: “This survey gives a real insight into academics’ concerns about the government’s policy proposals and the fallout of the Brexit vote."

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