Almost 2,350 academics from the EU have resigned from UK universities in the past year, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed. That’s up 19% from 1,975 two years ago (i.e. before the Brexit vote), and up 10% from 1,938 last year.
There are over 25,400 academics at UK universities from elsewhere in the EU. Of these 6,633 are employed by departments working on ‘STEM’ subjects such as engineering, maths and computing, where the UK faces serious skills shortages. Another 4,922 work on health sciences, nursing or medicine, and 1,307 on business.
516 academics teaching medicine or life sciences have quit in the past year, up 40% on two years ago, while 316 academics teaching STEM subjects quit in the past year, up 14% on two years ago.
The universities with the largest numbers of EU academics were Oxford (1702), Cambridge (1662) and King’s College London (1558).
The figures are based on Freedom of Information responses compiled by the Liberal Democrats from 105 universities.
Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran commented:
“This alarming rise in EU academics leaving our universities is the latest sign of a damaging Brexodus.
“Britain’s universities have thrived from having access to talented European researchers, and from years of European cooperation through schemes like Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.
“Now all this is being put at risk by this government’s botched handling of Brexit, where we seem to be losing all the benefits of EU membership while keeping the costs.
“These valued members of our communities find themselves uncertain about the future and unconvinced by the too little too late wooing by an incompetent Prime Minister. While they were frozen out of the referendum, they are now voting with their feet.
“If the government had done the right thing and guaranteed the rights of EU nationals from the start, perhaps fewer talented academics would have left the country.
“All this strengthens the case for giving people the chance to protect our universities, jobs and the economy through an exit from Brexit.”