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International recruitment to Research Council studentships

Excellent research has an international dimension. The Research Councils fund many of the best UK research teams and individuals for whom research is an international endeavour.

World-class institutions attract, train and develop the very best students from the UK and around the world. International students contribute significantly to the output and reputation of these institutions.

PhD graduates who enter employment in the UK after their studentship can make a direct contribution to the UK economy. Those who leave the UK may act as catalysts forging long-term international links with the UK.

RCUK has adopted the following principles in relation to recruitment of non-UK domiciled candidates to Research Council funded studentships:

  • Research Councils recognise the desirability of opening recruitment to attract the best international talent into excellent UK research and training environments – particularly in areas of skills shortage.A number of crucial research skills that are in short supply nationally have been identified by government, industry, the Research Councils and HEI community.Widening access to international candidates increases the opportunities for studentships to be recruited in areas where there is a shortage of UK strategic skills.
  • The benefit to the UK of providing public funding to international students must be balanced against the availability of opportunities for UK-based graduates. The UK is extremely successful in attracting talented non-EU students. These students fund themselves, or are funded by their home nations or educational foundations and, in general, it is not in the UK national interest that this inward investment be displaced by public funding, potentially reducing funding opportunities for UK-based candidate.

These principles should enable the Research Councils to:

  • Attract the best PhD candidates to the UK.
  • Promote access for competitive UK students.
  • Give priority to scare strategic skills.
  • Demonstrate benefits for the UK.
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