Layla Moran, Lib Dem candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has condemned the "Brexit brain drain" after research by the Liberal Democrats revealed that 1,624 EU academics from Oxford and Oxford Brookes universities combined have quit in the three years since the Brexit vote.
527 academics from the EU left Oxford University alone in 2018/19, the figures show, with 46 leaving Oxford Brookes in the same period. Since the 2016 referendum 1,515 EU academics have left Oxford University, and 109 have left Oxford Brookes.
The analysis, based on Freedom of Information responses from 81 universities, shows that across the country 4,014 EU academics have left UK universities in 2018/19.
Layla Moran said the figures reveal that uncertainty across Oxfordshire over freedom of movement and international research funding is leading to a “Brexit brain drain”.
Academics face uncertainty over both their immigration status and their funding following Brexit, meaning the UK risks becoming less competitive in attracting global talent. Previous analysis by the Royal Society has shown that the UK’s share of total EU research funding has already fallen from 15.8 per cent (€1.49bn) in 2015 to 11.3 per cent (€1.06bn) in 2018.
The findings are also consistent with recent research by the higher education industry body Universities UK, which reported that 60% of universities surveyed believed they had lost existing or potential staff members to overseas institutions because of Brexit.
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat Shadow Education Secretary and candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon said:
“It is deeply concerning that Brexit has already driven so many talented academics to abandon Oxfordshire and the UK.
“Our universities are being threatened by a Brexit brain drain, exacerbated by Boris Johnson’s reckless promise to crash us out of the EU by 2020 no matter the cost.
“This is sadly not surprising given the Tory party has adopted the xenophobic rhetoric of Nigel Farage, making our colleagues, friends and family from the EU feel unwelcome.
“It’s not too late to turn the tide and prevent Boris Johnson imposing his divisive Brexit plans on the country. The Liberal Democrats can still stop Boris, stop Brexit, and protect our world-leading higher education sector.”