About half of the universities in the United Kingdom consider they are slightly prepared for a no-deal Brexit to some extent (48%), a survey of Universities UK, which represents 136 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland shows.
While only 52% of UK universities feel fully or very prepared, more than three-quarters of the 75 surveyed universities are either ‘very’ or ‘extremely concerned’ about the negative impact a no-deal could have on their institution.
At the same time, 61% of universities believe that a no-deal exit would mostly affect either student recruitment (34%) or access to research programs and funding (27%).
The President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University London, Professor Julia Buckingham, commenting the survey said that the implications of leaving under these circumstances are still unknown, yet she believes that it is in the government’s power to lighten many of these concerns for universities.
“Despite working tirelessly to offset the potential implications of no-deal, such an outcome could leave an indelible footprint on the higher education landscape for years to come,” she asserts.
Universities Already Feeling Potential Effects of No-Deal
Universities in the UK are however, already feeling the potential effects a no-agreement UK-EU divorce.
The survey shows that half of the universities claim there has been lower demand from non-UK EU students, while more than 55% have experienced a change in collaboration with overseas partners. Almost 60% of the universities have already lost existing or potential staff members to foreign institutions abroad.
Yet, the survey results prove that the universities have at least tried to get ready for whatever Brexit brings, including a no deal. About 90% of the 75 participating universities in the survey tried to prepare by communicating with at least one researcher involved in EU-funded projects so this researcher could explain the steps taken by the government to underwrite EU funding.
At the same time, 90% of the universities established which Erasmus+ mobility programs the European Commission would cover and which the UK governments’ guarantee. A higher number of them, 95% have evaluated risks to key supplies and contracts.
The UK is expected to leave the EU on October 31. A deal is nowhere near to be reached, and all sides involved are preparing for a no-deal, which right now is the most possible outcome. Last week, the UK announced a two-year post-study work visa for internationals who graduate in the UK, in a bid to attract world’s “brightest and most talented”.