UCL News


Brain drain analysed

16 May 2006

The 'brain drain' of 1950s and 1960s Britain was one of the most hotly discussed topics of the day, but the original debate has since largely been ignored by academics.

This however, is now being addressed, as researchers from UCL are looking at the 'Anatomy of the brain drain debate in the UK'. A witness seminar on the topic, which brings together a number of figures involved with the brain drain, including officials and former emigrés will be held at UCL on 23 May 2006.

One of the lead researchers on the project Dr Brian Balmer (UCL Science & Technology Studies) said: "Although the term 'brain drain' has resurfaced in a variety of academic, policy and popular discussions about the mobility of scientists, there is a notable absence of scholarly literature analysing the original debate. This is especially surprising, considering that the original debate was widely covered in the media and generated protracted discussion within Whitehall."

The project, which is ESRC funded, draws on recently declassified documents in the National Archive and aims to provide a detailed historical analysis of the brain drain debate as a social phenomenon in the UK during the 1950s and 1960s.

To find out more about the conference - which is open to the public - and the project, use the links at the top of the article.