A Europe-wide higher education system with Britain at the helm has the potential to be stronger than that of the US, a senior academic has argued.
Sir Roderick Floud, dean of the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, made the case before speaking this week at a conference on the Bologna Process that was organised by the Universities UK Europe Unit.
He said: "The UK has to consider Europe, because we are part of Europe, and we are now part, through the Bologna Process, of arguably the biggest and strongest education and research area in the world.
"We have to recognise that the UK is in a leadership position in that area. If you look at the Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings, it is our universities that are leading - there are as many UK universities in a leadership position as the rest of Europe combined.
"We are in a very strong position, but that brings responsibility with it, for example to help areas of European research and teaching to achieve greater things.
"We are already doing that in a number of ways, but I think that instead of constantly comparing ourselves to the US, we should recognise what a good position we are in if we can make Europe a collective higher education area."
Professor Floud said that although the UK was involved in a lot of collaboration with Europe, "somehow we don't put it all together. Individuals are doing it, but we're not doing it collectively, and that's what I think we should do."