Written evidence submitted by Cancer Research
- Cancer Research UK recruits post-graduate students
from an international pool to ensure that we are working with
the very best researchers, to produce the highest quality research.
- Cuts to Tier 4 could significantly restrict recruitment
of non-EU PhD students.
- While our students are actively encouraged to
move institutions following completion of their PhD, we believe
the UK would benefit from the opportunity to retain promising
students in British science.
- Science has an important role to play in UK growth.
Restrictions to the recruitment of scientists and researchers
from across the globe could damage the future of UK science.
- The impact of changes to the system of immigration
needs to be considered in its entirety, rather than focusing on
changes to individual Tiers in isolation.
1. Cancer Research UK
is leading the world in finding new ways to prevent, diagnose
and treat cancer. We are the largest independent funder dedicated
to cancer research in the world. Over half of all cancer research
in the UK is carried out by our doctors and scientists.
2. Cancer Research UK's work is entirely funded
by the public. We spend 80p in every pound we receive, from over
9 million supporters across the UK, on our work to beat cancer.
In 2009-10 we spent £334 million on research, supporting
the work of more than 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
3. Cancer Research UK funds research into all
aspects of cancer from exploratory biology to clinical trials
of novel and existing drugs as well as epidemiological studies
and prevention research. As such we support research in a variety
of different environments, including university research groups,
core funded Institutes, and Cancer Research UK Centres.
4. International mobility in research is vital
to maintain high quality research, to share skills and training
and to drive science forward.
5. Cancer Research UK is internationally renowned
for conducting world-leading research. We recruit students from
an international pool to ensure that we are working with the very
best, to continue to produce the highest quality research.
6. Cancer Research UK has five core funded research
institutes all of which host international scientists dedicated
to cancer research. These include PhD students, early career post-doctoral
research fellows and established group leaders. We firmly believe
that this injection of international talent makes a vital contribution
to our research.
7. International researchers also promote the
success of UK-grown talent, who benefit both from the pressure
of competition, and from the broader sharing of skills and training
made available by working in UK laboratories with non-UK researchers.
8. The table below outlines the extent to which
our institutes recruit PhD students from outside the EU. Sudden
restriction of this sort of recruitment could be destabilising
to UK science.
|Cambridge Research Institute, CRI (2010)
|Beatson Institute, Glasgow (2009)
|Paterson Institute, Manchester (2010)
|Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, Oxford (2010)
|London Research Institute, LRI (2010)
9. In responding to the Committee inquiry, we have addressed
the points that we feel are most relevant to our experience.
The impact different levels of cuts might have on the various
sectors, and the impact, if any, that reductions in student visas
might have on the UK's standing in the world.
10. Cuts to Tier 4 could significantly restrict recruitment
of non-EU PhD students. This could prevent us from recruiting
the best, most capable students, whatever their background, which
in turn would have significant bearing on our research. The potential
impact of this is that the quality of research will be lowered,
and the UK standing as an international competitor in cancer research
could be jeopardised.
11. An immediate impact of changes to Tier 4 migration, coupled
with the concomitant changes being made to Tiers 1 and 2, is that
potential non-EU applicants will be deterred from applying to
the UK, as the UK is perceived as a difficult country to enter.
If the UK is an unattractive destination to international researchers
it will greatly inhibit our research capabilities, and damage
our position as a global player.
12. Any loss of skills that results from a limit to non-EU
migration will have a significant effect on the future of the
research base, and ultimately on the strength of the economy.
Whether the post study route should be continued
13. The UK benefits from high quality researchers. If we attract
some of the best researchers from overseas, it would be beneficial
to give them the opportunity to stay in the UK, and continue contributing
to the UK research base. Therefore it might be appropriate to
retain post-study work for those that have achieved a higher degree
14. The system needs to allow for flexibility to encourage
highly qualified people, who will go in to highly skilled jobs,
to remain in the UK. We need to avoid making hasty decisions that
appear to provide benefit in the short term, but that might limit
opportunities in the future.
15. Our institutes actively encourage PhD students to go elsewhere
after they've finished their course because experience of working
in several different establishments is beneficial to their training.
However, we would still like these people to have the opportunity
to remain in the UK, to share their experience, to the benefit
of both the researcher and UK science.
16. We recognise that the intention to reduce net migration
to the UK was a central component of the coalition agreement.
We are keen however, that during the process of reducing immigration,
areas that have been identified as important by other departments
within Government are given due consideration. Science has been
recognised as having an important role to play in UK growth. Restrictions
to the recruitment of the best scientists and researchers from
across the globe could damage the future of UK science.
17. We would also like to highlight the value of considering
the system of immigration in its entirety, rather than making
changes to individual Tiers in isolation.
18. Recruitment of non-EU scientists and researchers relies
on several different Tiers within the immigration system. Changes
at one level could have significant consequences for the remaining
Tiers, and might therefore provoke unintended consequences that
prove to be even more restrictive.
19. Cancer Research UK is committed to conducting the highest
quality research. Our PhD Programmes are formal programmes in
conjunction with leading universities. They are highly competitive,
with large numbers of applications. Overseas students are in direct
competition with UK and EU students, all of whom undergo an extensive
selection process, which usually includes a face-to-face interview
and collection of references.
64 Registered charity no 1089464. Back