N8’s views on Brexit impact shared with House of Commons Education Select Committee


The N8 Research Partnership has given its views on the impact of Brexit on Northern universities at a public session of the Education Committee at Northumbria University.

The special session focused on the potential implications on their ability to attract students from abroad and the possible consequences for research funding.

The House of Common’s select committee heard from Dr Peter Simpson, Director of the N8; Professor Tony Stevenson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University; the Vice-Chancellors of Sunderland and Northumbria universities; and the Director of Universities Scotland. The session is part of the Committee’s inquiry into the impact of Brexit on higher education.

Evidence received so far has suggested that Oxford University, Cambridge University and universities in London will continue to attract international and EU students, regardless of any changes in immigration policy. The Committee has also heard concerns that EU funding is spread more widely around the country, compared to UK funding research, which is regularly awarded to Oxford, Cambridge and London.

The Committee is examining whether the Government should pay specific attention to universities away from London, Oxford and Cambridge. The session also explored the role of universities in the Government’s industrial strategy, particularly in regards to research and development investment.

Dr Simpson, said: “A thriving higher education sector will be a vital component of regional and national success post-Brexit. This has been a great opportunity to reaffirm the N8’s commitment to economic growth though research and innovation, and to discuss with MPs some means by which the government can assist the sector through a challenging period of change.

“The North of England needs much greater long term investment in infrastructure, and in innovation support, and N8 will ensure this message is heard clearly.”

Those who appeared alongside Dr Simpson at the Sutherland Building, Northumbria University, were:

  • Professor Tony Stevenson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Newcastle University
  • Shirley Atkinson, Vice Chancellor, University of Sunderland
  • Professor Andrew Wathey, Vice-Chancellor, Northumbria University
  • Alistair Sim, Director, Universities Scotland