The key trends we have picked up across many regions this month are:
Housekeeping: Several European universities are looking at spring cleaning their UK partnership list in anticipation of BREXIT. We were speaking to a well ranked Italian university which currently has over 20 mobility agreements and further MoU and research agreements. They are looking at how to rationalize these and create more strategic relationships with fewer partners, very much the same way as UK universities are developing their plans.
Course Licensing: European universities are looking to license unaccredited course material to either supplement their current provision or launch new English taught degree programmes. Last month we were successful in concluding deals in the licensing of course material for a Digital Marketing Masters degree as well as UK Common and Corporate law modules for an undergraduate programme.
Digitising of courses: There is significant funding available for universities across Central Europe for the digitising of content and as a result there are opportunities for educational technology companies with relevant platforms.
Private Sector and UK universities: We have completed the first phases of two major projects; one is the creation of a private nursing school for a Romanian private health provider (200 undergraduate students a year) and the other is the creation of a university centre focusing on computer science delivering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes (on a franchise model). We are about to start work on two larger projects, the main one mentioned above will be looking to create a centre which will have 3,000 students (2,000 non-EU).
Europe targeting UK Research Skills
As well as looking at the potential benefits BREXIT will bring universities in Europe looking to increase student numbers it is also clear that several European governments see the potential squeeze on research funding for UK universities post BREXIT as an opportunity to encourage collaboration between their institutes and leading UK research intensive universities as a way of improving the research performance of indigenous institutions. Structures are being created that will allow the UK university the chance to continue to be involved in bidding for research money, and extra funding allocated to facilitate the development of the relationships.