Brexit: what this means for higher education

Posted by Emyr Lewis on
So now we are set to leave the EU and the speculation has already begun about what will happen to existing and planned EU-funded collaboration projects.

The position is more complex than that, however, nothing will happen immediately owing to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This states that EU law will still apply in the UK until terms have been agreed for UK's withdrawal from the EU, so many facets of regulation which impact on Higher Education, such as State Aid, would remain in place for at least two years.  If the UK is to remain in the EEA, then those rules may continue to apply indefinitely.

Given that the Referendum saw the universities sector unite in opposition to Brexit, it may be difficult for those working in UK institutions to look for positives today.

Ultimately, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the higher education sector, which is presently reliant on the EU as a reliable source of funding, in the form of students, research grants and capital finance, faces a challenging future, given the uncertain nature of the relationship between the UK and the EU. In the next five years, we may well see a more innovative approach to funding and collaboration required, with institutions looking further afield for support, or collaborations with the private sector.

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Emyr covers public and constitutional law as well as heavyweight commercial transactions in the ICT and media sectors, public procurement and State Aid.

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