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UK commits £100m to attract researchers

The UK’s Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, has confirmed the government intends to invest £100m in a Global Talent Research Fund to attract more highly-skilled researchers to the UK.

Jo Johnson, Ernest Rutherford Fund, researchJo Johnson, minister for universities and science at the 2016 India UK Design Summit. Johnson said the new Ernest Rutherford Fund will provide scholarships to researchers from emerging and developing research countries including India. Photo: British High Commission New Delhi.

"Even as we leave the EU, we are open to the world"

The Ernest Rutherford Fund will provide scholarships for highly-skilled early-career and senior researchers both from developed and emerging research powers including India, China, Brazil, and Mexico.

Initially, the Rutherford Fund is to be administered by Innovative UK and the Research Councils. However, in 2018, the brief will be taken over by the newly established UK Research and Investment agency.

“We practise in international landscapes, we are internationally diverse”

The fund is to receive £100m which is a part of the £4.7bn in research and development funding dedicated to attracting international specialists announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

At the launch event, Johnson underlined that talented researchers are welcome in the UK, while the fund will send a strong signal that “even as we leave the EU, we are open to the world and will reinforce our ambition of making the UK the go-to country for innovation and discovery”.

The newly appointed chief executive of UKRI, Sir Mark Walport, also emphasised the importance of internationalisation, collaboration, and diversity for the agency in order to make the UK a preferable research destination.

“Research is a global activity,” he said. “We practise in international landscapes, we are internationally diverse and much of the science that is done today is of the international nature, both through the instruments that are needed which cannot be funded by any one nation alone and also by the desire of researchers to work with the best counterparts wherever they are.”

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