MPs to investigate university brain-drain

MPs are to examine a looming recruitment crisis in the UK’s universities, after a report found top academics are quitting for better-paid jobs abroad.

One MP raised fears that the UK could run out of high quality scientists, because school maths and science had been so “dumbed down”.

The quality of candidates, particularly for top professor-level jobs, is in decline, according to the study, conducted for the government by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

It found that sexism, race discrimination, low pay and red tape all threaten the future supply of university staff – and said the problems come at a time when more academic staff will be needed to meet the government’s target for getting 50% of young people into university.

The science and technology select committee plans to hold an inquiry into the recruitment problems raised by the report.

Phil Willis, the new chairman of the committee and Liberal Democrat MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said he had “major concerns” over the issue.

Unless these recruitment problems are tackled the UK will struggle to compete in the international market place for high-level science and technology, he said.

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