Brexit by the numbers: the fear of brain drain

British universities fear losing large swathes of their research staff as the country faces up to Brexit, the split with the European Union. More than 31,000 academics at UK universities are non-British EU citizens, and so may lose their rights to live in the United Kingdom after Brexit, writes Daniel Cressey for Nature.

A UK parliamentary committee recently published evidence from British institutions and funding agencies on the problem, as part of its inquiry into the effects of Brexit on the UK higher education system. It is "crucial that the long-term position of non-UK EU nationals is clarified as soon as possible", said Research Councils UK, the umbrella body for the country's seven main grants-funding agencies, in its written statement.

On average, some 16% of university researchers are from non-UK EU states. If these EU nationals were to leave, basic science research would be hit harder than other disciplines. Statistics sent to the parliamentary inquiry by the UK Department for Education show that 23% of academic staff in biology, mathematics and physics are EU nationals.
Full report on the Nature site