10 Apr Canada 150 lures talent fleeing Trump, guns and Brexit
Alan Aspuru-Guzik, a prominent professor of chemistry at Harvard University in the United States, who specialises in developing advanced materials for energy generation, is one of 20 newly hired Canada 150 research chairs announced on Thursday. The haul of prominent scientists appears to confirm a predicted brain gain for Canada due to reactionary politics in the United States and elsewhere, reports Ivan Semeniuk for The Globe and Mail.
While Aspuru-Guzik’s move to the University of Toronto was triggered by disaffection by the election of Donald Trump as US president, fearing rising authoritarianism and instability, when Anita Layton, a biomathematician whose work relates to kidney function, was asked what she would be giving up by leaving North Carolina’s Duke University to come to the University of Waterloo in Ontario, she summed it up in two words: gun violence. Her children have recently been in lockdown exercises at school to practise for an armed assault.
And for Judith Mank, an expert in the genomics of diversity, who will be moving her laboratory from University College London to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, the driver was the 2016 Brexit vote, which left her unsure if she would be able to continue to access funding from the European Union, her sole source of funds. continue reading