Brexit has caused a significant blow to research funding at Oxford and Cambridge universities. The UK’s departure from the EU means that researchers in Oxford and Cambridge have been deprived of access to the European Commission’s €8 billion Horizon 2020 scheme, which funds university-level research projects across Europe. This has created an immediate financial strain on both universities, particularly as alternative funding sources on such short notice cannot support many tasks.
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The effects of this loss of funding will be felt acutely by students and staff alike; with limited resources available for research, academics may have fewer opportunities to further develop their knowledge in their fields, making them less able to support students’ learning needs. Additionally, PhD candidates who rely on external grants to finance their studies may have difficulties obtaining the necessary funds to complete their research.
In response, both universities have begun to lobby the UK government for additional funding to make up for lost resources. They are also looking at new ways of increasing revenue streams, such as through increased investment in commercialisation and technology transfer activities and by expanding collaborative partnerships with industry partners.
While it remains to be seen what impact these measures will have on research funding levels at Oxbridge, one thing is certain: Brexit has created a complex set of challenges for researchers across Europe that must now be overcome if they are to continue their work without disruption. To ensure the continued success of university-level research projects in Oxford and Cambridge, it is essential that the government steps in to provide a long-term, sustainable solution to this funding crisis.
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