UK risks mass exodus of EU academics post-Brexit, finds report

The Guardian reports that the potential risk to UK universities from post-Brexit academic flight has been laid bare in a report that reveals there are regions where up to half of academic staff in some departments are EU nationals.

The British Academy report [pdf] warns that economics and modern language departments will be particularly badly hit if European academics leave the UK, with more than a third of staff in each discipline currently from EU member states.

The risk is particularly acute in Northern Ireland where a quarter of all academic staff – across all subjects – are from EU countries, while in the West Midlands almost half of modern languages staff are from the EU. 

Now the British Academy, which is the public voice for the humanities and social sciences, has named the subjects most at risk as a result of the continuing uncertainty over immigration rules after Brexit.

Top of the “at risk” list are economics and modern languages, with 36% of economists and 35% of academics in modern language departments from EU countries. Next are mathematics (29%), physics (28%), classics and chemical engineering (26%) and politics and international relations (25%).

Professor Ash Amin, who is head of geography at Cambridge University and acts as foreign secretary for the British Academy, said: “It is critical that the government takes action and puts an end to this uncertainty. Today’s report depicts precisely what is at stake: the UK’s position as a world leader in higher education and research.

“That the UK attracts such a high proportion of staff from abroad is a testament to the competitiveness of the humanities and social sciences. Many of the people from this talent pool will be asking themselves: do I see the future of my career in this country?”

In a separate report published on Tuesday, the British Council argues that in order for the UK to succeed post-Brexit, there will need to be a push to improve language learning. Mandarin and Arabic are among the languages the UK will need, as well as Spanish, French and German.

Read the full article UK risks mass exodus of EU academics post-Brexit, finds report

Do you find yourself in a similar position as a non-UK EU employer/employee? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. Oh no! They might have to employ people from America, Australia, India, etc, etc. Even worse there might have to be English ones. Foreign reciprocal jollies might be curtailed! Sheer horror.

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