North's universities will be impacted negatively by Brexit, say academics

Almost 400 Irish academics were asked for their views

IRELAND'S leading body of experts in the sciences and humanities believe the north's universities will be impacted most by Brexit.

In response to the UKs decision to leave the EU, the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) established a taskforce to consider the implications on research and higher education in the north and Republic.

It surveyed almost 400 Irish academics on their views on the potential impacts and opportunities arising from Brexit. It has now published an analysis of survey findings and will be followed by a comprehensive report, including recommendations later this year.

Asked if Brexit was "likely to impact negatively on north-south collaboration", 77 per cent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed.

About two-thirds (66 per cent) of respondents believed Brexit would have a negative impact on the higher education sector in the Republic. This increased to 96 per cent when asked this question in relation to Northern Ireland.

Respondents from the Republic outlined several opportunities, noting that there may be potential to win more EU funding if UK researchers became ineligible to apply.

Northern Ireland respondents, the survey report said, "overwhelmingly stated that they could see no benefits or opportunities which could be gained for higher education and research in Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit".

A previous report last year warned that Ulster University risked losing about €20 million (£17.5m) in EU funding and tuition fees as a result of the Brexit vote.

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