After the Brexit referendum in June last year, a lot of people are highly confused and are concerned with what the future holds for England and the rest of Europe. One of the big questions is funding. This is a particular worry in a number of sectors, the biggest being agriculture and academia. These two sectors have been receiving EU subsidies, the loss of which could potentially have an adverse effect on their performance in coming years.
Despite concerns, the University of Oxford has found a rather intelligent way of getting around the issue of potential loss of EU subsidies. The plan is to open a campus outside the United Kingdom and base it in France. That way, such a campus would automatically obtain French legal status and would therefore continue to receive EU funding after Brexit. At this stage, the University has been involved in a series of talks and negotiations that have confirmed that French authorities and institutions were working to bring a little piece of Oxford to France. If the plan does go ahead with France, we could see the construction of a new Oxford University campus in Paris as early as 2018!
This is certainly one way of resolving the potential issues that Brexit can bring but it also solves another issue. Alongside the concern of subsidies is the concern that Universities based in the United Kingdom will become less attractive an option for international students or to staff members. Regardless of the prestige of Oxford, many students based in the EU may find it preferable to go to Universities domestically rather than pay, what will likely be heavily inflated fees to attend a UK institution. Given that 15.4% of Undergraduates at Oxford are international students whilst nearly a half of postgraduate students are international, this could be detrimental to the prosperity of the University.
It is not uncommon in England for historical attractions to attempt to inherit their history after long periods of inactivity (for example, the Grand Cafe in Oxford claiming to be the oldest coffee house in England but please ignore the fact that no coffee shop existed for a large part between the foundation and the current date!). If we keep in mind that Paris was potentially one of the oldest Universities in Europe, are we also witnessing a revival of this historic claim?
Regardless of any heritage claims, it would certainly be interesting to witness a University such as Oxford, renowned for being a quintessentially British institution, developing a bit of the Parisian flair!0