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Science and politics are inextricably linked. If we want the UK to participate in Horizon Europe, we need to accept that

BMJ 2022; 377 doi: (Published 06 June 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:o1396

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Brain drain and election day, Italy

Dear Editor,

While the September 25 election day in Italy is fast approaching, the "new" issues around which the political debate is centered are climate change and global warming, alongside the dramatically rising energy costs caused by the war in Ukraine. Sadly, not even one single word is being said about the "brain drain", an alarming condition persisting for over three decades! And, while Italian politicians have ignored this issue for so many years, the agenda for the September 25 election day does not represent an "exception to the rule". Nothing new under the sun!

Within such a worrisome context, Italy's low attractive power towards foreign scientists is an additional matter of concern.

This situation is well depicted, among others, by the Nobel Prizes won by Italians as compared to foreign investigators. Indeed, while the vast majority of researchers from France, Germany, The Netherlands, UK, USA, Canada, Japan and several other Nations win their Nobel Prizes on a regular basis in their respective Countries, this is not the case for Italian scientists, 60% of whom win their Nobel Prizes outside of their national borders!

This is paralleled by largely inadequate investment in public research, slightly exceeding 1% of the gross domestic product, which places Italy among the least virtuous European Countries.

Notwithstanding the above, the Italian scientific community appears to be in very good health and shape, thereby ranking as the 8th across the globe for the quality of publications and research products.

Competing interests: No competing interests

06 September 2022
Giovanni Di Guardo
Retired Professor of General Pathology and Veterinary Pathophysiology at the Veterinary Medical Faculty of the University of Teramo, Località Piano d'Accio, 64100 Teramo, Italy
Rome, Italy