In a recent analysis carried out by the Centre for Global Higher Education, the role of non-UK and Non-EU postgraduate students in the UK’s HEIs has been examined. These students play a significant role in both UK’s research capacity and teaching quality, making them a vital asset for UK’s HEIs as well as the British academic future.
Considering the wide array of HEIs and disciplines, not all of them are affected by Brexit in the same way. Some of these universities are science-oriented, other focus on teaching, each with a different research capacity, national and/or international engagement, wealth etc. As a result of this multiplicity, HEIs are able to attract non-UK EU students, secure European structural funds, and win substantial EU research funding.
Since most of postgraduate research students teach in the universities they are doing their research at, it is crucial for the UK research system that the research student number doesn't decline.
Considering that many of these postgraduate research students are also part of the future generation of UK academics, a decrease in foreign students and/or a cutback in their research opportunities presents a danger to the future reputation of UK universities. Considering the numbers listed above, it is crucial that after Brexit the UK HE is still able to attract postgraduate research students from all around the world, with the scope of replicating future academic generations.