Britain, Canada, France Seek Foreign Researchers

July 6, 2017

The British government this week announced a 100-million-pound fund (about $129 million) to attract international researchers to the United Kingdom. The Ernest Rutherford Fund will provide fellowships for early-career and senior researchers, according to the government’s announcement.

The London-based Times Higher Education noted in its coverage of the announcement that many are concerned that fewer foreign researchers will come to the U.K. as a result of potentially stricter immigration controls and perceptions of xenophobia associated with Britain's planned exit from the European Union. "The Rutherford Fund will send a strong signal that, even as we leave the European Union, we are open to the world and will reinforce our ambition of making the U.K. the go-to country for innovation and discovery," Jo Johnson, the universities and science minister, said at a launch event.

The U.K. is not the only country with a new pot of money to lure foreign researchers. The government of Canada recently announced an initiative worth 117 million Canadian dollars (about $90.8 million) to attract up to 35 internationally based researchers to Canadian universities for seven-year terms at salaries of either 350,000 Canadian (about $270,000) or one million Canadian (about $772,000) per year. The Canada 150 Research Chairs Program, named to celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial, is open to foreign-based researchers from all disciplines, including Canadian researchers based outside the country.

Meanwhile, France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, is trying to lure climate researchers with grants of up to one million euros (about $1.1 million) for junior researchers and €1.5 million (about $1.7 million) for senior researchers. The French initiative is termed Make Our Planet Great Again, in a clear jab at the slogan favored by President Trump, who recently announced plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

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