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25th Sep 2018
University vice-chancellors have suggested that UK universities could open campuses in Europe to help offset the potential damaging impact of Brexit.
There is a fear from higher education institutions that in the event of a "hard" Brexit they could lose research funding, as well as staff and students.
As a result some universities are looking into expanding into Europe.
The University of Kent has had a centre in Brussels for almost 20 years, for over 200 postgraduate students from 60 countries and also has branches in Paris, Athens and Rome.
According to the University of Kent, the sites allow the university "to develop and foster connections that enable our students to gain important access to professional networks".
Vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, Chris Husbands also said: "You can imagine a situation post-Brexit where UK universities are operating as aggressively in Europe as they are in China and India and elsewhere".
Not only are universities concerned about the potential loss in funding for research but they also fear that it will become harder to recruit students and staff from EU countries, particularly if freedom of movement restrictions are introduced, or if fees for EU students were changed.
It's argued that university branches within EU countries could allow UK universities to retain research links and European funding, while also ensuring they can continue to attract staff and students.
There are reports that some institutions are already researching into which EU countries provide the most co-operative regulatory regimes, with Germany, Finland, the Republic of Ireland and the Baltic states currently being the preferred options of some universities.
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