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UK facing ‘brain drain’ of cancer researchers after failure to join EU scheme

Top young cancer researchers are leaving the UK in a “brain drain” fuelled by the continuing failure to reach an agreement over the EU’s study programme, scientists warn.

The two-and-a-half-year delay in joining the £85bn Horizon Europe scheme, the largest collaborative research programme in the world, has “damaged the UK’s reputation” and made it more difficult to attract and retain the brightest researchers into the nation’s labs.

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) surveyed 84 cancer specialists about Horizon Europe and found that three-quarters of respondents favoured association with the programme compared with only 11% who wanted the UK to go it alone with the government’s plan B, known as Pioneer.

Prof Julian Downward, head of the Oncogene Biology Lab at the Francis Crick Institute in London, said: “We need Horizon Europe very badly. The current situation is damaging UK science every day. We are losing top junior faculty regularly who decide to move to EU countries so they can take up European Research Council grants.”

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Source: Guardian, 25 August 2023


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