UK plans to lure skilled foreign scientists to its shores

Thu, 2006-03-30 04:50 PM

The UK Trade Secretary, Patricia Hewitt launched her five year plan for British business today, and she explained that under her plans, the UK hopes to lure highly skilled and qualified foreigners to boost domestic academic and entrepreneurial expertise.

Hewitt warned that Britain needs to attract more foreign talent in order to remain competitive with the rising economies of China and India.

The global economic map is being redrawn, she said.

With the help of the Home Office that will develop UK immigration policies. Hewitt plans to first entice, and then hold onto new foreign talent.

We're sending a strong signal to scientists around the world that the UK is the place to carry out research in cutting edge areas, Hewitt told the luncheon.

The areas of research to be targetted are nanotechnology and stem research.

At the top of Hewitt's list of preferred candidates are students qualified at degree level in so called shortage subjects, these include maths and science.

But, she denied such moves would lead to a "brain drain" in poorer countries.

"We're not looking to strip developing countries of their desperately needed skilled people," she said.

Hewitt's plan includes the government boosting research and development spending from the current 1.9% of national income annually, to 2.5% over the next decade.

Increasing spending in scientific research and luring fresh faces to the UK should help the UK compete with China which is becoming one of the world's largest economies, and India which is annually producing more than three million highly skilled graduates, Hewitt said.

The plans were welcomed as "particularly encouraging", by the Confederation of British Industry.