Brexit and the irreducible British universities

While we wait for Brexit, it is important to understand the collateral effects in areas such as Science and Education. British academic leaders have already highlighted Brexit's negative impact.

While we wait for"Brexit", it is important to understand the collateral effects in areas such as Science and Education.

A week ago, Nova University Lisbon hosted a meeting with more than 60 researchers and colleagues from Lancaster University, to discuss shared scientific projects, Europe's scientific research agenda and the future collaboration between British and European universities.

British academic leaders have already highlighted Brexit's negative impact. There are currently 50,000 European academic workers and 130,000 European students in the British academic system and their future is uncertain. The same applies to those 15,000 British students currently studying in continental Europe. A No-Deal "Brexit"  puts the vital connections of the European Scientific Community and important scientific developments, from climate change to cancer treatment, at risk.

The British education and scientific research system is one of the most innovative worldwide, and attracts a significant portion of Europe's research funding. Their researchers are the highest recipients of grants from the European research council, which resulted in 6 Nobel prizes, 4 Field medals and 5 Wolf awards. Between 2007 and 2017, Britain received 1850 of these grants, compared to 76 awarded in Portugal. Britain is currently able to attract and retain top talent due to their capacity of financing high quality research. By leaving the EU, Britain will loose around £1.2 million of scientific funding in the first two years alone.

Another important source of funding for universities is tuition fees. Britain is loosing its competitive advantage to other English speaking countries such as Canada and Australia, as well as European countries that are now offering English taught degrees. Whether it is British universities reducing tuition fees for domestic students, or European students loosing their current status, the result is disastrous.

British institutions are now getting closer to Europe to avoid loosing their funding capabilities. Oxford is opening a new campus in Berlin while Warwick established new partnerships in Brussels and Paris, which might have seemed uninteresting in the past.

Let's wait and see...



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