One of Britain’s most prestigious research institutes has apologized to a young scientist who was told her offer was being withdrawn because she is Russian and was due to be offered a role.

The Beatson Institute, a biological research center in Glasgow that conducts research into the basics of cancer biology, has faced criticism after it emerged that a doctoral candidate was rejected based on her nationality.

A message apparently sent by an employee of the institute, which was later posted on Twitter by a friend of the applicant, stated that the offer to her was being withdrawn.

“I have just been told that very recently Beatson has instituted a new policy whereby I cannot appoint you because you are Russian,” the post read. “I am very sorry about this. I think so [sic] it is not fair that what is happening in Russia affects very talented young scientists like you… I really hope you find a place to do your PhD!”

In a statement Thursday, Beatson said it does not have a policy of rejecting applications from Russian students based on their nationality.

Owen Sansom, director of the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research UK, said in a statement: “Applications are considered on a case-by-case basis and proposals are always reviewed for external checks such as visa requirements or UK government sanctions.

“In this case, there was an initial misunderstanding of those restrictions that was resolved. We have contacted the applicant to offer them a seat and apologize for any distress caused. We are reviewing our processes internally to prevent this from happening again in the future.”

In May, the University of West London (UWL) came under fire after a Russian woman rejected her application to study on a hospitality course. The e-mail to her referred to “the university’s policy in response to recent events and the situation in Ukraine.” A UWL spokesman later reportedly said the rejection email was sent in error “due to an internal misunderstanding”.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the British government imposed a series of financial, trade, aviation, maritime and immigration sanctions against Russia, while the named individuals are also subject to sanctions.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination in the workplace on grounds of race, nationality, ethnic or national origin. Victimization of applicants is also prohibited.

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