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29 Aug 2019

Russell Group looks at impact of Brexit uncertainty on EU academics in UK

In a recently published policy statement, the Russell Group, an association of 24 leading British universities, analyses the impact of Brexit uncertainty on the retention and recruitment of EU academics in the United Kingdom (UK). Based on the latest HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) data on academic staff, the statement looks at how recruitment trends have changed over time and assesses the impact of the referendum on flows of EU academics to and from UK universities.

Although the number of EU academics working in the UK increased by 4% in 2017/18, this was the lowest level of growth for more than a decade. Between 2015/16 and 2016/17 (latest available data for leavers) there was an 11% rise in the number of EU academics leaving Russell Group universities, while over the same period, the number of non-EU and UK academics leaving Russell Group universities increased by just 4% and 5% respectively. Some disciplines have been more strongly affected by this trend than others, a disproportionately high percentage of staff leaving posts in subjects such as biosciences, physics, chemistry and engineering.

The Russell Group states that unless trends in EU academic flows over recent years are reversed, it is only a matter of time before the number of EU academics leaving British universities exceeds the number arriving. The group therefore calls on the British government to address this situation as a matter of urgency and adopt corresponding legislation.

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