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Top science body warns of UK brain drain

There is a danger of a ‘brain drain’ in the UK, the president of the world’s oldest scientific organisation has warned, with top EU researchers who have taken senior jobs here being tempted to return to Europe.

“One of my colleagues, a Royal Society fellow, had multiple job offers from Germany within days of the referendum result,” said Venki Ramakrishnan, Nobel prize-winning president of the Royal Society, on 16 July.

“I have also heard that the US is chasing European scientists working in the UK now. Many of them will feel they are no longer welcome here after Brexit and will be tempted to leave. The government has to reassure them they are welcome in the UK.”

He also said ministers must intervene as a matter of urgency to underwrite EU research grants given to UK scientists.

Scientists in the UK received €8.8 billion (£7.4bn) in research funding from the EU from 2007 to 2013, according to the Royal Society – more than the €5.4 billion the government contributed over the same period.

At present, science minister Jo Johnson has indicated there is little likelihood of full compensation being provided.

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