The head of a top university in Australia has told Sky News the Brexit vote has given it an opportunity to poach some of the UK’s top talent – both academics and students.
Professor Ian Jacobs, the vice chancellor of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, is leading an effort to hire 1,000 top tutors from across the world.
As a Londoner by birth he admitted having “mixed feelings” about the recruitment drive in the UK but said London’s position was “under threat” as a result of the country’s decision to leave the EU.
He told Ian King Live he was concerned about the future of UK higher education – particularly without the aid of EU funding – reflecting the sentiments of the business lobby group, the CBI.
Image: Professor Jacobs says the cost of living in Sydney is comparable to that in London
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It said on Wednesday the Government must do all it can to ensure the UK remains open to the most talented students and researchers once the country’s divorce from Brussels is complete.
Its director general, Carolyn Fairbairn, told the Universities UK annual conference: “Now more than ever we need to really get behind our universities and deliver on their potential as world-leading centres of excellence.
“They lie at the heart of the future of the UK and should be at the core of our Industrial Strategy.”
While discussing his hiring spree, Professor Jacobs said: “We’re looking at all of those who are interested because of their concerns about Brexit.
“Some of those will be EU nationals who have come to the UK.”
He added: “London is the leading city in the world for top quality universities with more in the top 500 than any other city in the world. I see that as being under threat and that is an opportunity for universities …elsewhere in the world.”
The professor said Australian universities were “relatively well funded” and new investment had prompted the recruitment drive but admitted there was pressure on funding from the government in future.