More senior academics are leaving Britain than migrating into the country, according to a report by Universities UK, writes Melanie Newman.
In its policy briefing on the international market in academic staff, UUK said there was no evidence of a brain drain from the UK, and total numbers of incoming academics exceed those leaving the UK.
However, researchers and lecturers are chiefly responsible for Britain's net academic gain. At senior lecturer and professorial levels, more staff leave than enter the country. In 2005-06, 2,730 senior staff arrived while 3,775 left.
Overseas academics made up 19.1 per cent of staff in the UK in 2005-06. In that same year, per cent of all academics appointed were non-UK nationals.
Drummond Bone, president of UUK, said: "This report highlights the UK as a leader in recruitment and retention of highly skilled academic staff, but (it) warns that we must not become complacent as we face increased competition from overseas institutions.
"We must also be aware of how issues such as immigration and funding can impact on the attractiveness of the UK as a destination for academic staff."
Higher education reforms in many countries and the Bologna Process to harmonise higher education across Europe will lead to increased international competition for academic staff, the UUK report said.
The main countries of origin for non-UK academic staff are Germany, China, the US, the Republic of Ireland, Italy and France. China provides the largest single group of non-UK nationals among research staff.