The Danish School of Education at Aarhus University has published an impressively comprehensive Working Paper 28 on what Brexit may mean for higher education and research in Europe. It contains loads of data on the current level of the intertwining of higher education and research between universities in the UK and other European countries in terms of student and staff mobility as well as research collaboration.
The data serve as the substratum of a series of semi-structured interviews. This combo of quantitative and qualitative data was first generated for the UK and the Netherlands and subsequently complemented for 8 other countries: Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and Switzerland – leading to a total of 10 case studies. A case study on Finland is still in the making.
The report shows that the UK is a very important player in both the ERA and the EHEA, but not as central as Germany. Against the widespread fear that Brexit would constitute a risk to the quality and reputation on research in the European Union, one can also read from the report that Brexit may provide new opportunities: for high-level research cooperation with German partners, or attract high-level researchers as well as students either from Britain or to continental Europe instead of to Britain.