Survey Challenges U.K. Brain Drain

LONDON—Fears of a brain drain of British scientists have been quieted by a new survey from the Royal Society. Many researchers have pointed to the success of overseas recruitment—with U.S. institutions seen as the chief culprits—as a consequence of continuing tight research budgets in British labs. But the Royal Society was unable to find figures to back up the often politically motivated rhetoric. Overall, its report produces a picture of a global intellectual market from whic

Jon Turney
Jul 26, 1987
LONDON—Fears of a brain drain of British scientists have been quieted by a new survey from the Royal Society.

Many researchers have pointed to the success of overseas recruitment—with U.S. institutions seen as the chief culprits—as a consequence of continuing tight research budgets in British labs. But the Royal Society was unable to find figures to back up the often politically motivated rhetoric.

Overall, its report produces a picture of a global intellectual market from which Britain gains and loses. North America is a magnet for some British workers, but the United Kingdom can still attract scientists and engineers from Australia, India and the Far East.

The report identified just over 600 "experienced" British scientists and engineers who quit the country between 1976 and 1986. Some 300 postgraduate researchers also departed.

The report admitted that this outflow, barely one a week, amounts to only 2 percent of the number of...

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