Vice Chancellors, London MPs, council leaders and peers who attended the event heard from sector representatives who said that encouraging international students and staff and ensuring continued international research collaboration were key to the future prosperity of London post-Brexit.
Professor Geoffrey Petts, who is also the current Chair of London Higher, said: “Britain has a strong foothold in the higher education sector globally, and our exit from the European Union must not impinge this or the innovation, economic growth and soft power that flows from it”.
EU and international students in London support over 70,000 jobs in the capital and generate nearly £3 billion every year for the capital’s economy. London has the most international students of any city in the world, with well over 100,000 studying in London, making up about a quarter of the total higher education student population.
London universities receive nearly £200 million from EU sources for research and innovation projects. And 60 per cent of international students also say they are likely to do business in the UK if they have studied here, emphasising that an international outlook is vital.
The breakfast event organised by BUILA, the British Universities’ International Liaison Association, and London Higher, also heard from Catherine West, MP, shadow minister for Far East and the Americas in the shadow foreign office, Martin Smith from Ingenious investment group, Professor Jenny Higham, Principal of St George’s, University of London, and former UCL student Mustafa Khanwala.
During the breakfast, there were demonstrations of award-winning products and new technologies that international students had invented during their time at university in the city and examples of life saving research collaborations with European partners. These included an app to test for blindness, an international award-winning violin and guitar made from spider silk, and examples of London universities working with European partners on a ground-breaking project to cure malaria.
With students from 165 countries, staff from across the world and a highly international alumni community, the University of Westminster embraces global engagement in all its forms. We have a rich mix of international partnerships in over 20 countries worldwide, and place particular emphasis on providing international opportunities for our students. Our research addresses global themes and is sustained by international collaborations. We are an international institution, located in the heart of London.