Brexit and Trump May Entice Scientists to Ireland
Uncertainty in the scientific community due to Donald Trump’s controversial policies and Brexit are providing Ireland and other English-speaking countries with a competitive advantage. Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) said that while anxiety exists at a national level in Ireland, there were many more opportunities than disadvantages for science in Ireland. For instance, international student rates have already fallen significantly in the UK, with Ireland receiving many of these applications instead.
SFI plan to provide joint professorships for outstanding scientists and researchers who are to be appointed between Irish and other leading universities in the UK. As such, Ferguson added that Ireland needs to address concerns revolving around falling rankings at university level as well as the level of investment in science and higher education. He suggested actively recruiting foreign students, particularly those in the UK who are not supportive of Brexit and those in the US who do not want to live under Trump’s policies. As such, hundreds of researchers have already left the United States Environmental Protection Agency after the President undermined the role of the agency in dealing with pollution.
SFI are establishing five new research centres, with over 600 PhD students to be trained in AI, machine learning and data analytics. A report by the organisation found that Ireland is ranked highly for its research quality in major disciplines such as animal-dairy, nanotechnology and immunology. Ireland is also the most efficient R&D country in Europe based on investment, presenting a solid opportunity to researchers who are not comfortable in their own nations.