According to Times Higher Education (THE), there is some concern among higher education leaders in the UK about the effect that the successful referendum to leave the European Union will have on academic funding.
The percentage of competitive grant research income in the UK that comes from the European Union varies by field, and its status is unclear in the wake of the vote. Among the most vulnerable fields is philosophy, which, together with ethics and religion, receives about 36.07% of its grant income from the EU:
The data are from the consultancy Digital Science, whose report, Examining Implications of Brexit for the UK Research Base, looked at research money won from UK and EU sources over the past decade. Much turns on whether a post-Brexit government – most likely a Conservative one that could be led by Boris Johnson – would compensate organisations that lost out.
Daniel Hook, managing director of Digital Science, told THE that “if we were to leave the EU, there’s no guarantee it [funding] would automatically go away”, not least because some of it was already committed as part of multi-year projects. But he warned that “if we were to Brexit, we’d need a three-year plan to replace the money”. The money saved from the UK’s £8 billion annual net contribution to the EU would need to be reinvested in areas that would lose out, he said. “I don’t think there’s anything else out there,” he warned.
Apart from funding consequences, there are concerns about inclusion and collaboration. THE paraphrases Bill Rammell, vice-chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire:
Brexit would be “catastrophic” for UK universities because it would hinder research collaboration and make it more difficult to recruit a “culturally diverse” student body.
Further thoughts on the impact of Brexit on academia, especially the philosophy profession, welcome.
(Thanks to Daniel O’Connell and Daniel Brunson for bringing this news item to my attention.)