The UK-based University of Warwick has announced plans to establish long-term collaborations with universities in Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium, in order to shield the institution from the ill effects of Brexit.
It has agreed to share teaching staff and facilities with Université Paris Seine and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in order to continue continental research and teaching without having to establish a European campus after Britain leaves the European Union, reported the Financial Times.
Warwick’s Vice Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft said in a statement that “Europe wide research and teaching collaboration has helped transform the lives not just of students and researchers, it has underpinned jobs, and spurred innovation and advances in health, manufacturing, culture and so much more.”
“The idea is that we can both benefit from each other,” said François Germinet, Paris Seine’s president as quoted by the FT. “Warwick explained to us how they have increased revenues and student numbers, but they don’t have access to campuses abroad. We can provide that.”
Croft told the Guardian that the collaborations were “despite Brexit, not because of Brexit”, and that the institution “couldn’t wait” to see what deliberations over Brexit would mean for the higher education sector.
“We chose to act now not just to show our commitment to work together in future but to begin work on a range of activities that delivers on such a commitment,” he said.
“It’s in the DNA of Warwick to be a highly internationalist university,” said Seán Hand, Warwick’s Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Europe) as quoted by the university’s student newspaper The Boar. It was merely the “first phase” of Warwick’s “growing international collaborations”, he added.
Other universities have followed a similar trend, albeit not on the same scale as the Warwick collaborations.
In January, Imperial College London and France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) announced a partnership that will see UK academics continue to access research funding from the European Union post-Brexit.