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  • Education & Training

The Future of Higher Education: Beyond Brexit

  • Tuesday, 24 January 2017
  • Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 16:30
  • Overview

The EU referendum result has long-term implications for EU students, staff and research projects. UK Universities currently benefit from EU research funding by about £1.2 billion a year alongside access to international networks of researchers via the freedom of movement rules. The Treasury has guaranteed to back EU-funded projects signed before the 2016 autumn statement. After this date any EU funded projects will be assessed by the Treasury to determine whether project funding should be guaranteed by the UK government. With uncertainty remaining over how long the home nations will remain inside the EU, and what the future exit deal will include, there are doubts whether EU researchers are being deterred from bidding for funding alongside UK partners. What action can universities take to ensure that Britain remains at the forefront of research and learning?

After the UK leaves the European Union there are further complications to navigate such as the immigration status of EU students, eligibility of loans, whether tuition fees will rise for EU students and also visa policies for university staff. Currently 125,000 EU students, five percent of the total number, study in the UK and it has been estimated that they have contributed £2.7bn to the British economy. How can institutions continue to attract the best talent to study, research and work in the UK? This timely conference will explore likely outcomes so that institutions are best placed to prepare, plan and proactively respond to the challenges and opportunities beyond Brexit.

In June 2016 the British public voted for the seismic decision to leave the European Union. Universities in the UK currently benefit from EU funding programmes, research partnerships and staff. The UK provided 11% of the EU’s overall budget but received 15.5% of available funds during the last EU funding programme, FP7. Research funding amounts to over £1bn a year and, with European Research Council research grants allocated on the basis of excellence, UK research has secured over 20% of all distributed funds between 2007-13. The Treasury have announced that it will underwrite funding awards, including bids to the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, even when projects continue post-Brexit. However some uncertainty remains as any projects that obtain EU funding after the 2016 autumn statement will be assessed by the Treasury for funds to be guaranteed by the UK government. What will new funding structures and research grant applications look after Britain leaves the EU and how can those leading research projects effectively plan for changes ahead? As events continue to develop what are the ramifications and the opportunities for the higher education sector? Is there now the chance to re-envision the UK university sector in a global as well as European landscape?

There is a huge number of staff, academic or otherwise, that comes from the EU to work at British universities. The EU’s freedom of movement rules simplified the immigration process to work or study abroad for both EU and UK citizens alike. Residents of EU nations are able to study in other EU nations as home students meaning fees are far lower than those charged to international students. Under the Erasmus scheme over 200,000 UK students have studied at European universities. It is estimated that the number of EU students studying in the UK is around 125,000, estimated to have contributed £2.7bn to the British economy with 19,000 extra jobs. How can the UK continue to attract the best talent to study and work and ensure UK students benefit from mobility and international collaborations? Will tuition fees rise for EU students studying at UK universities and will students still be eligible to receive loans and grants?

According to a Universities UK report Britain’s higher education sector generates £73 billion for the economy and contributes 2.8 per cent of the nation’s total gross domestic product. The findings from The Impact of Universities on the UK Economy report states that the sector is “comparable in size to the legal services sector” and “considerably larger than computer manufacturing, the basic pharmaceuticals sector and the air transport industry”. A statement from the Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, has sought to bring reassurance to the sector by confirming there are no immediate changes to:Research funding and programmes; tuition fees; staff visa policies; the immigration status of current EU students and those about to start a course in 2016-17; and students participating in the Erasmus exchange programme. The precise detail of a departure deal from the EU will be determined under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty and can take up to two years once article 50 has been triggered. With plans for the next academic year (2017-18) fast approaching what can universities do to ensure they have access to funding, that both UK and EU students have the support they need to study and they can continue to attract the best talent to work, research and study in the UK?

This timely conference will explore likely outcomes so that institutions are best placed to prepare, plan and proactively respond to the challenges and opportunities beyond Brexit.

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  • Confirmed Speakers

  • Benefits of attending

  • Learn about the long term implications for EU students, staff and research programmes and projects following the EU referendum vote.
  • Gain insights into what a future exit deal should include for the Higher Education Sector.
  • Explore the likely outcomes so that your institution is best placed to prepare, plan and proactively respond to the challenges and opportunities beyond Brexit.
  • Hear what action your institution can take to ensure it remains at the forefront of learning and research.
  • Gain further clarity on the immigration status of EU students and eligibility criteria for loans.
  • Learn what new funding structures and research grant applications will look like after Britain leaves the EU and how universities will access funding.
  • Gain insights into how research projects and programmes can effectively plan for the changes ahead.
  • Explore the opportunities to re-envision the UK university sector in a global as well as European landscape.
  • Take part in high level discussions as to whether tuition fees will rise for EU students and how UK universities will compete for the best talent to study, research and work in the UK.
  • Debate how UK students can continue to benefit from mobility and international collaborations.
  • Ensure both UK and EU students have the support they need to study and develop their careers.
  • As events continue to develop learn more about what the ramifications and opportunities are for the higher education sector.
  • Benefit from the opportunity to question, discuss and debate progress on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
  • Take advantage of knowledge sharing and professional networking.
  • Gain the maximum number of 6 CPD points.

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  • Event Programme

08:30am

Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area

09:25am

Chair’s Opening Address

Aaron Porter, Director of Insights, Hotcourses & former President, National Union of Students (confirmed)
"Welcome and introduction"
09:45am

Keynote Address

Dr Thomas Ekman Jørgense, Senior Policy Coordinator, European University Association (confirmed)
"International projects, funding and collaboration"

With uncertainty remaining over how long the home nations will remain inside the EU, and what the future exit deal will include, there are doubts whether EU researchers are being deterred from bidding for funding alongside UK partners. What action can universities take to ensure that Britain remains at the forefront of research and learning?

10:05am
Professor Ole Petter Ottersen, Rector, University of Olso (confirmed)
"Higher Education models outside of the EU: What could the future look like and what are the consequences for EU research and education?"

It is estimated that the number of EU students studying in the UK is around 125,000, estimated to have contributed £2.7bn to the British economy with 19,000 extra jobs. Discussing the Norwegian HE sector and relationship with the EU and what can be learned from a system outside of the EU. After Brexit how can the UK continue to continue to contribute and benefit from international collaborations in research and education?

10:25am

Question and Answer Session

10:55am

Coffee in the Networking Area

11:40am
Jessica Cole, Head of Policy, Russell Group (confirmed)
"Brexit: Next steps for the UK knowledge economy"

The UK has 18 universities in the top 100, it ranks first in the world for the quality of its research and has a highly productive research base with a global reputation for excellence. How can the UK maintain its world-leading position in higher education and research by continuing to attract the best talent to study and work and ensuring UK universities can collaborate with key partners overseas?

12:00pm
Justine Andrew, Director Public Sector, KPMG (confirmed)
"University responses to Brexit: Opportunities and risks"

A look at the options open to Universities in a post-Brexit environment, is a EU Campus the right option or are there other approaches that could achieve the same results?

12:20pm

Question and Answer Session

12:45pm

Lunch in the Networking Area

13:45pm

Chair’s Afternoon Address

13:50pm

Panel Discussion

Alex Davies, Research Analyst, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (confirmed)
Dr. Lesley Thompson, Director Academic & Government Strategic Alliance in the UK,  Elsevier  (confirmed)
Aaron Porter, Director of Insights, Hotcourses & former President, National Union of Students (confirmed)
Dr Damian Mather, ‎Principle Lecturer in Law of the European Union, Manchester Metropolitan University (confirmed)

"Beyond Brexit: What next for the Higher Education sector?"

The precise detail of a departure deal from the EU will be determined under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty and can take up to two years once article 50 has been triggered. What should a future exit deal include for the Higher Education sector?

14:30pm
Matthew Robb, Managing Director, Parthenon-EY (confirmed)
"What now? Commercial sustainability in the New World"

Considering how universities can be bold in their international expansion through a range of possible delivery options overseas. This could include online and blended delivery options, and working with in-country partners.

14:50pm

Question and Answer Session

15:00pm

Coffee in the Networking Area

15:30pm
Dr Duncan Connors, Fellow of the Durham Energy Institute, Durham University Business School (confirmed)
"Beyond Brexit: Can UK Higher Education survive without the EU?"

With the prospect of leaving the European Union, Higher Education in Britain faces the biggest existential crisis in its history with a myriad of complications from the status of European students and staff, possible tuition fee rises for EU students and the withdrawal of British institutions as participants in EU led research funding threatening to derail a sector of global renown. This talk discusses these issues and asks whether the price of withdrawal from the European Union will be a perpetually weakened university sector or whether Brexit will provide new opportunities for universities to take advantage of.

15:50pm
David Cockayne, Managing Director, Good Governance Institute (confirmed)
"Life after the EU: Impacts on institutions and governance"

What impact will the decision to leave the EU have in regards to governance best practice, nationally and internationally in the higher education sector?

16:10pm

Question and Answer Session

16:25pm

Chair’s Closing Remarks and Event Close

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