Jeannie Rea, the Australian National Tertiary Education Union President, says that research spending cuts and other changes to higher education, such as fee deregulation, are prompting more young academics to leave the country, University World News reports.
"Reports that researchers are being forced to look overseas for secure employment opportunities are extremely worrying," Rea says.
The budget of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the leading research agency in Australia, has been slashed by some A$110 million (US$85 million), leading to a 20 percent reduction in staff, University World News notes, and the plan to deregulate university fees is likely to lead to increased graduate debt.
One researcher, Danielle Edwards, who studies how the environment influences genetic diversity in reptiles, tells University World News that she had been unable to land a position in Australia and has been working in the US. However, she was invited to apply for a position at CSIRO, but the post was eliminated by the budget cut. Edwards did receive an award from the Australian Research Council, but turned it down.
"The prospect of getting a more permanent position outside the three-year fellowship did not look good given my struggles trying to find a position," she says.