Celebrate UK appeal

July 16, 2004

It is unsurprising that young researchers are flocking to the UK ("UK enjoys a brain gain in young talent", July 9).

We have one of the most open, corruption-free university systems in the world. The research assessment exercise makes clear the basis for success, and a young researcher with good-quality journal publications is highly valued.

We also have one of the most international student bodies, with hundreds of thousands of students coming to the UK each year, and growing numbers studying for UK qualifications abroad. Familiarity with the UK system encourages young researchers to seek opportunities in this country during their most productive years - particularly since an increasingly paranoid US seems to be discouraging academic immigrants from many parts of the world.

This influx of bright young staff is one of the reasons why the UK outperforms most of its counterparts in terms of research output and citations. It should be celebrated rather than feared.

Len Shackleton
Westminster University

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