MORE than 200 EU academics have left Brighton’s universities since the Brexit referendum three years ago.

Since June 2016, Brighton and Sussex universities have lost 222 EU members of staff according to figures obtained by the Lib Dems.

In the last academic year alone, 42 EU scholars left the University of Sussex, while 30 left the University of Brighton.

That is a 60 per cent increase over the number that left in the 2015/16 academic year, the last before the Brexit vote.

Beatrice Bass, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hove, worried about a “Brexit brain drain”.

“It is deeply concerning that Brexit has already driven 222 talented academics to abandon our universities,” she said.

“I hear from some scientists that they have already been excluded from international research projects and Brexit hasn’t even happened yet.

“This is deeply concerning and threatens the status of our universities in international research and development.

“The Liberal Democrats are the only party that can still stop Boris, stop Brexit, and protect our universities which are so important to local jobs and prosperity.”

But a University of Sussex spokeswoman said the university has more EU staff now than before the referendum.

“Since the EU referendum, we have been closely supporting our non-UK EU colleagues to ensure they continue to feel valued and welcomed here at Sussex,” she said.

““As one of the top 25 most international universities in the world, naturally we are keen to ensure that Sussex, and the UK in general, maintains its status as a destination of choice for academics around the world.

“Sussex continues to attract top global talent.”

Meanwhile, a University of Brighton spokesman said it was encouraging all staff to apply for settled status so they can remain in the UK after Brexit.

“The University of Brighton is proud to be a welcoming and outward-facing institution with students and staff from across the globe and will continue to be so regardless of what happens on Brexit,” he said.

“We are encouraging all staff from the EU to apply for settled status in line with UK Government advice and continue to monitor Brexit developments closely.

“It is also worth bearing in mind that whilst there has been turnover of EU academic staff that others will have been joining us during the same period.”

The UK is set to leave the EU on January 31.