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The Impact of Brexit on Higher Education

26 Jan 2017

A recent Education Select Committee has been hearing that the referendum vote in favour of Brexit is already having and is likely to have significant impact on the UK’s higher education communities. These include: 
  • A 14% drop in applications for Cambridge University from EU students – with reasons cited including concerns over “anti-immigrant sentiment” and the impact on international research. While not quoted for other universities, this trend is likely to ripple across the whole sector. The overall impact is likely to exacerbate the existing shortage of engineering and other technical skills in the UK.
  • Issues in recruiting, motivating and retaining faculty members in key UK institutions; where on average around two thirds of staff members are EU nationals external to the UK.
  • Research Funding: the Horizon 2020 (an EU Research and Innovation programme making nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years) has already awarded over £2bn to the UK’s higher education sector. If UK establishments cease to be eligible or cease to win such funding, as Dr Anne Corbett of the LSE says, “the UK government had to be ready for some serious funding".  

While this problem is expounded in terms of impact for the Higher Education sector, the ramifications are far wider reaching and could impinge on the UK’s ability to innovate and compete in key markets.  

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