ATAS Prevents Scientists to Enter the UK

The Royal Society has warned that the government’s Academic Technology Approval Scheme (Atas) is deterring top international scientists from coming to the UK. Atas is designed to prevent the export of technology with potential military applications and was expanded last year amid a national security crackdown. However, delays in the process leave some scientists unable to take positions in the UK. The Society is calling on the government to review the Atas system to make it more efficient and user-friendly. Otherwise, it risks losing out on attracting top scientific talent worldwide.

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Royal Society urges the government to review Academic Technology Approval Scheme delays preventing top scientists from coming to the UK. The Royal Society has warned that the government’s Academic Technology Approval Scheme (Atas) is deterring top international scientists from coming to the UK.

Atas is designed to prevent the export of technology with potential military applications and was expanded last year amid a national security crackdown. However, delays in the process leave some scientists unable to take positions in the UK. The Society is calling on the government to review the Atas system to make it more efficient and user-friendly.

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Otherwise, it risks losing out on attracting top scientific talent worldwide. In a statement, the Royal Society said: “The current process for seeking FCDO approval through it can be extremely lengthy, typically taking several months.

This inevitably causes significant delays and uncertainty for individuals who may be able to take up their posts once approval has been granted. It also risks deterring the best international talent from working in the UK.”

The Society added that it is “essential” that the government works with universities and other research institutions to find a way to speed up the Atas process so that scientists are not put off from coming to the UK.

In addition, the Royal Society calls on the government to review the fees charged for Atas applications, which it says are “disproportionately high” compared to other countries. It also wants to simplify the application process so that scientists can easily understand what is required of them.

According to the Society, the current system is “complex and unclear, ” making it difficult for scientists to know whether they need to apply for Atas approval before coming to the UK. The Royal Society’s intervention comes after several high-profile cases in which scientists have been unable to take up positions in the UK due to delays in the Atas process.

In one case, an Indian-born scientist offered a job at Oxford University was told by the FCDO that she would need to obtain Ata’s approval before taking up her post. However, despite numerous attempts, she was unable to get the required approvalsupport in time and was forced to withdraw from the job.

In another case, an Egyptian scientist offered a fellowship at Imperial College London was also told he needed to obtain Atas approval. He eventually managed to get the necessary support, but only after a delay of several months.

The Royal Society says these cases “highlight the need for urgent reform” of the Atas system. It is calling on the government to review the scheme to make it more efficient and user-friendly. Otherwise, it risks losing out on attracting top scientific talent worldwide.

What do you think of the Royal Society’s intervention? Should the government review the Atas system? Let us know in the comments below.

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