Kent v-c warns of dangers to HE of leaving EU

A vice-chancellor has made an impassioned defence of the benefits to universities of European Union membership amid the rise in popularity of Ukip.

May 10, 2014

Dame Julia Goodfellow, vice-chancellor of the University of Kent, which bills itself as “the UK’s European university”, made the comments to mark Europe Day on 9 May.

She said withdrawal from the EU would harm the UK’s research base and the economic benefits it draws from continental European students.

Dame Julia’s message is at odds with that of another Kent resident, Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who lives in the village of Downe.

“Many voices are calling for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU,” said Dame Julia. “Yet to do so would be bad for higher education – and much worse for our students and their future.”

She praised the EU as a “common economic space within which talent can move freely”, pointing out that around 20 per cent of Kent staff come from other countries within the EU and that the university has study centres in Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

Dame Julia also argued that the UK “secures a disproportionate amount of EU research, development and innovation funding, over €6 billion (£4.9 billion)”. And she said the nature of EU research funding means that it allows projects that individual member states could not undertake alone, in which the “high reputation of UK researchers” means they are able to “influence the European agenda”.

She continued: “The idea that we could outside the EU secure even a fraction of the money or influence is not viable.”

On the economic benefits, she noted that “the direct financial gain from EU students in fees and living expenses has been estimated at £2 billion a year, with the indirect benefits being even higher”. And she pointed out that EU mobility programmes such as Erasmus “represent the single biggest source of funding for UK students and staff hoping to pursue a study or work placement abroad”.

Dame Julia concluded: “Last, our membership of the EU matters because it helps define our view of ourselves.”

And she added: “By turning our back on the most important institution in our region, we would be damaging not just ourselves but also, much more importantly, our children and young people. We would do our students a severe disservice in restricting their ability to compete in the global economy.”

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest