UK post-grads eye opportunities overseas

Most of the UK’s best new researchers feel let down by government and industry and will consider going abroad to work, reveals a survey of 300 post-graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Four out of five of the respondents said that UK businesses need to provide more opportunities for post-graduates and just over half felt that the government or public sector provides too few research and development opportunities. 

“This new research commissioned by the Toshiba Fellowship Programme has shown that post-graduate students and graduates have had little support from business when looking for careers in R&D or research placements,” said the executive summary of the study conducted by ICM Research, “and many feel that the link between the academic community and industry is weak.”

David Gleaves, a former Toshiba Fellow who is now chief executive of NHS innovation hub Midtech, said: “The UK is known for being home to some of the best universities in the world. The results of this survey show that businesses still aren't taking advantage of this knowledge. Companies need to work closely with academic institutions to spot innovative opportunities at the root.”

Toshiba convened a roundtable meeting to discuss the survey at the Royal Institution in London today, where representatives of large companies including Toshiba, BT and Unilever defended their records on working with universities and students but agreed that more small and medium companies need to be involved too.

Three-quarters of the post-graduates surveyed said they had considered moving abroad to gain R&D experience. The number one reason – chosen by 52 per cent – was the higher number of opportunities, although almost as many – 45 per cent – cited ‘a change of scenery’ as the reason.

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