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Liberal Democrats blame 'Brexit brain drain' for academics leaving Cambridge


By Ben Comber


Tim Farron MP with Julian Huppert supporting student Liberal Democrats in their campaign for additional mental health support in Cambridge University. Picture: Keith Heppell
Tim Farron MP with Julian Huppert supporting student Liberal Democrats in their campaign for additional mental health support in Cambridge University. Picture: Keith Heppell

Academics are leaving the UK's top educational institutions because of Brexit, it has been suggested.

The Liberal Democrats, who applied for the information in Freedom of Information Actg requests, are calling it the ‘Brexit brain drain’.

The figures show that 184 academics left Cambridge University in the past year. This compares to 176 in 2015-16, and 136 in 2014-15.

There are 1,422 academics at Cambridge University from elsewhere in the EU, including 239 from Italy, 228 from Germany and 174 from France. A recent analysis by the Russell Group, which represents 24 of the UK’s leading universities, found that there are 24,860 members of staff from other EU countries at UK universities, making up 23 per cent of all academics.

Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the city, and a Cambridge University academic, said: “This sharp rise in academics from Europe leaving our universities since Brexit is a calamity for Britain and our world-leading science sector.

“Theresa May bears some responsibility, for failing to guarantee the rights of EU nationals and choosing a hard Brexit that will rupture our ties with Europe.

“But Labour’s refusal to back free movement, instead giving their backing to Theresa May over Article 50, means that there is no comfort there.

“Cambridge thrives from being open to talent from Europe and around the world.

“The Liberal Democrats will stand up for the rights of EU citizens and give people the final say, with a chance to reject a bad Brexit deal and remain in the EU.”

Anglia Ruskin University, which also answered the FOI along with more than 50 other universities, lost eight academics this year, compared to 13 the year before, and eight in 2014/15.



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