Almost 40% of EU academics from major universities in the North West have quit in the three years since the Brexit vote, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.
319 EU academics left universities in Manchester, Liverpool, Bolton, Cumbria and Lancashire in 2018/19, new figures show.
Nearly 1,000 academics in Greater Manchester alone have left since the 2016 vote.
Responses from 81 universities show 4,014 EU academics have left UK universities in 2018/19.
The Liberal Democrats have warned that uncertainty across the North West over freedom of movement and international research funding is leading to a “Brexit brain drain.”
Academics face uncertainty over both their immigration status and their funding following Brexit, meaning the UK risks becoming less competitive in attracting global talent. Previous analysis by the Royal Society has shown that the UK’s share of total EU research funding has already fallen from 15.8 per cent (€1.49bn) in 2015 to 11.3 per cent (€1.06bn) in 2018.
The findings are also consistent with recent research by the higher education industry body Universities UK which reported that 60% of universities surveyed believed they had lost existing or potential staff members to overseas institutions because of Brexit.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Manchester and Spokesperson for the North John Leech said:
"Manchester is famed for its world-class Universities and is home to some of the world's greatest talent including Alan Turing, Ben Elton Sarah Burton, Jennifer Saunders and Anthony Burgess.
"Manchester thrives off students and teachers from all over the world but Corbyn and Johnson's reckless Brexit is putting all of that at risk, and the impact is already hitting home.
"Only the Liberal Democrats will stop Boris, stop Brexit and build a brighter future for Manchester."
North West Liberal Democrat MEP and Employment Spokesperson Jane Brophy added:
“It's really sad that Brexit has already driven nearly 1,000 talented academics to abandon the North West. The North simply does not have the capacity to lose this much talent – we must do everything we can to stop our universities from being threatened by this Brexit brain drain.
“The Tory party has adopted the xenophobic rhetoric of Nigel Farage, making our colleagues, friends and family from the EU feel unwelcome. The situation risks being made even worse by Boris Johnson’s reckless promise to crash us out of the EU by 2020 no matter the cost.
“Only the Liberal Democrats can stop Boris, stop Brexit, and protect our universities which are so important to local jobs and prosperity.
"It’s not too late to turn the tide and stop Boris Johnson from dividing and damaging the North West.”