Rutherford Fund part of government’s strategy to make UK ‘go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors’

The UK government is investing £100 million to attract talented scientists from abroad. The fund, named after chemistry Nobel prize laureate and immigrant Ernest Rutherford, is aimed both at early career and senior researchers from developed countries and from emerging states such as India, China, Brazil and Mexico.

In last year’s Autumn Statement, chancellor Philip Hammond pledged to increase R&D spending but did not provide any details on how the additional £2 billion per year would be invested. According to universities and science minister Jo Johnson, the Rutherford Fund will support prime minister Theresa May’s vision to make the UK the ‘go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors’ and ‘a country that attracts the brightest and best minds’.

The announcement comes at a time when UK researchers are worried about losing access to EU funds, which make up 23% of chemistry departments’ annual income, and freedom of movement has become a real concern in the wake of Brexit.