Academic exodus continues

The resignation of 230 EU academics is "very serious for Oxford"

Photo: Protesters at an anti-Brexit rally in March 2017

The number of resignations from Oxford European academics has increased once again since the EU referendum.

230 European academics have resigned from Oxford University in the past year, compared to just 171 in 2014-15.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding negotiations with the EU has been suggested as the reason for the high turnover of staff.

Dame Averil Cameron, a former Warden of Keble College, said that the revelation was “very serious for Oxford.”

Oxford currently employs 20% of EU academics working in the UK.

However, a spokesperson for the University told Cherwell: “It is impossible to draw any firm conclusions about the impact of Brexit on staffing at the moment.

Overall EU academic numbers are virtually unchanged from 1,714 to 1,702 this year.”

The spokesperson continued: “The status of colleagues from other parts of the EU has been a major concern for the University and we have called for clear commitments on this issue to reassure staff and students who are already here or hoping to join us.

The University will continue to call for a free flow of academic talent to and from the EU in the final Brexit settlement.”

James Partridge, a Fellow at University College of Czech told Cherwell: “I’m absolutely certain that a significant loss of EU academics would be disastrous for UK higher education.

“It would be bound to affect the quality of teaching and research across the sector if it happened, and I don’t really see how anyone can sensibly dispute that.

“In my view that would be as true for Oxford as for any other university, but clearly if Oxford continues to be able to recruit new staff from the EU successfully then those effects would be mitigated somewhat.”

Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “These valued members of our communities find themselves uncertain about the future and unconvinced by the too little too late wooing by an incompetent Prime Minister.

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While they were frozen out of the referendum, they are now voting with their feet.”

The Phase I report issued by the EU and UK governments in December stated EU citizens would be able to claim permanent residency status in the UK. It also said that the UK will be able to stay involved in EU programs up to 2020, including Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.

Nevetheless the government’s reluctance to say whether it will continue to engage in Free Movement or remain in the ECJ, which is often a prerequisite for receiving funding from programs within Horizon 2020, means that prospects for academic research are still
uncertain.

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