University chief warns of Brexit impact


WARNING: Heather Laurie, pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Essex

By Will Mailes

Referendum logo smallA senior University of Essex academic has warned that leaving the EU could reduce the diversity of the students that study there.

Heather Laurie, who will take over as pro-vice-chancellor for research in September, said “a lot is at stake” for higher education in the 23 June referendum.

Laurie said: “The University of Essex is a very international university, and we have about 15 per cent of our students come from EU countries.

“I think it would really impoverish the education we could offer overall if we didn’t have as many EU students coming to study with us.”

Voters will take to the polls next Thursday to decide whether or not Britain remains in the EU – and the result is anything but certain. Laurie said there had been hesitancy among EU students thinking of applying for courses next year.

“We have already seen, even before the referendum, that the numbers of EU students who are applying to us to come and study next year are already down.

“So there is uncertainty that has been introduced there”

“Around 10 per cent of our funding comes from the EU, but it’s not only the money you get from the EU, it’s also the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of academics working in different universities across the EU that really enriches what we can achieve.

“There have been groups of academics, including a group of Nobel Prize winners, who came out and said that research would be severely impacted if we didn’t stay in the EU.

“So I think the general view across the Higher Education sector seems to be in favour of Remain.”



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