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UK's bio-angst responsible for brain drain

27 September 1999
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 27

The British scientist responsible for the world's first ovarian graft, opening the possibility of treating premature menopause, is leaving for a job in Canada because of a lack of investment in science in the UK and poor public esteem of scientists.

Gosden, about to move to McGill University's Royal Victoria Hospital in Quebec, says his main reason for leaving the UK is the national fear of modern scientific advances and a knee-jerk hostility to biotechnology. He is disgusted by what he describes as government retreat in the face of such 'bio-angst'. 'With all the fuss over genetically modified (GM) food and so on, it is difficult to be a scientist in Britain. One does not feel proud of being a scientist any longer... There is no future here and the future of this country, as in any developed country, must be in its science and technology', Roger Gosden said as he quit his post as professor of reproductive biology at Leeds University.

Further reasons for the science brain drain include poor salaries, lack of research funding and the lack of a proper career structure. In June, a report by Michael Bett, a senior civil servant, called for a £450m boost to academic salaries.

The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), an umbrella organisation, will tell a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference that genetic research is vital and cannot be sidelined.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Backlash against biotechnology pushes scientist to join brain drain
The Guardian |  24 September 1999
Britain's bio-angst forces scientists out
The Observer |  26 September 1999
Medical stars pack their bags
The Independent on Sunday |  26 September 1999
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