Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our mailing list

The UK’s competitive advantage: The market for international research students

Neil Kemp et al, The UK’s competitive advantage: The market for international research students. UK Higher Education International Unit Research Series/2, July 2008.

The international competition over international postgraduate research (PGR) students is the subject of a recent report prepared by Neil Kemp for the UK Higher Education International Unit. It confirms the UK’s very strong position in the market for young talent. The country has a share of 15 percent of the world market for PGR students. On a per-capita basis, the UK attracts more international PGR students than any other country worldwide. In absolute numbers, the country is second to the US, and leads Germany, France and Australia. Per-year growth rates have been impressive, at about four percent.

Next to achievements, the report also highlights risks. Enrolment from some countries (China, Greece, Mexico, Japan, South Korea) is declining. The UK’s success is largely due to a limited number of British universities, and eight source countries. In some subject areas, the reliance on international PGR students might even be too high. Future concerns include a possible lack of scholarships, and cost issues, where (particularly European) competitors could score more easily than UK institutions.

International Focus