1,225 EU academics quit London and Surrey in three years in “Brexit brain drain”

December 2, 2019 5:22 PM
By Cllr Will Forster
Originally published by Woking Liberal Democrats

Lib Dems: 1,225 EU academics quit London and Surrey in three years in "Brexit brain drain"

EU - Research and Education


46 EU academics from the University of Surrey, and 1,179 from universities in London, have quit in the three years since the Brexit vote, research by the Lib Dems has revealed.


23 academics from the EU left the University of Surrey in 2018/19 alone, the figures show.

The analysis, based on Freedom of Information responses from 81 universities, shows that across the country over 4,000 EU academics have left UK universities in 2018/19.

The Lib Dems said the figures reveal that uncertainty 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% cent (€1.49bn) in 2015 to 11.3% (€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.

4. Education

Lib Dem Candidate for Woking, Will Forster, said:

"It is deeply concerning that Brexit has already driven 1,225 talented academics to abandon London and Surrey. We must do everything we can to stop our universities from being threatened by this Brexit brain drain."


"The Conservative Party has adopted the xenophobic rhetoric of Nigel Farage, making our colleagues, friends and family from the EU feel unwelcome. The situation risks being made even worse by Boris Johnson's reckless promise to crash us out of the EU by 2020, no matter the cost."


"The Lib Dems are the only party that can still stop Boris, stop Brexit, and protect our university which is so important to local jobs and prosperity. It's not too late to turn the tide and prevent Boris Johnson from imposing his divisive and damaging Brexit plans on Woking."