Will There Be a Brexit Brain Drain?

Some academics in the United Kingdom say they are considering leaving the country for greener pastures, as Britain’s exit from the European Union takes effect.

Bob Grant
Jan 10, 2017

WIKIMEDIA, RLEVENTEAn academic exodus from the U.K. could be right around the corner, as the so-called “Brexit” that British voters narrowly pushed through last year swings into action, according to a survey of more than 1000 university staffers.

Forty two percent of those academics indicated that they were likely to consider leaving UK higher education in response to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Seventy six percent of European Union academics that were not UK citizens said the same. And a whopping 90 percent of survey respondents said that they thought the Brexit will have a negative impact on higher education in the U.K.

“This survey gives a real insight into academics' concerns about the government's policy proposals and the fallout of the Brexit vote,” said Sally Hunt, general secretary of the U.K.’s University and College Union, which conducted the survey, in a statement. “'The level of...

The survey also queried respondents about the pending Higher Education and Research Bill (HE), which proposes placing nine UK funding bodies under one roof. Four out of five respondents (81 percent) said that they thought the HE Bill would have a negative impact on academia in the U.K. “The government must focus its full attention on dealing with the impacts of Brexit and shelve the divisive HE Bill,” Hunt said.

“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.”