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Survey Finds Universities Fear for UK’s Reputation

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

A Lib Dems survey has found that university vice-chancellors fear that the UK's global reputation for higher education and research is already at risk due to Brexit and that more than 80% believe the risk to funding would be "considerable".

The survey sent out by Liberal Democrat education spokesman, John Pugh, found that three quarters of respondents believed Brexit was a risk to the international standing of UK universities, with several already reporting an adverse impact on staffing.

Mr Pugh wrote to all 148 vice-chancellors to ask for their feedback on the risks post-Brexit and received 48 responses.

In particular the vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University noted that the decision to leave the EU, combined with the Visa regime, can be interpreted as "we are not open for business".

Meanwhile Mary Stuart from the University of Lincoln suggested that international partners could see Brexit as a signal that Britain was closing up against the world.

More than 80% of the vice-chancellors surveyed said they believed it was vital to preserve free movement of people to help protect research and collaboration.

Not a single vice-chancellor thought that research funding, the right to work and reside of EU academics, and the right of all UK and EU students to study across the EU could be maintained without keeping freedom of movement between the UK and the EU.

Universities such as Bristol also raised concerns over the viability of some degrees, particularly modern languages, for which mobility is an essential part, which is enabled through the EU-run Erasmus scheme.

According to Liberal Democrat John Pugh we should not continue with the reforms to university funding and research until we know what Theresa May's post-Brexit plan is, as the changes that were proposed before the vote are simply no longer fit for purpose.