New Opportunities May 18


Below is a selection of the type of opportunities we have shared with clients over the past month or so, we have removed the names of the institutions, but if there are any which are of interest then please let me know and I can share further information.

Significant Opportunity to Acquire a Presence in the Baltic States

We have a very significant opportunity for a UK university to take a controlling interest in a highly successful and highly ranked private business school in Central and Eastern Europe (EU).

The School was established in 1999 by the Norwegian Business School (who are still a small shareholder), and since then it has become widely recognised as a regional leader (it is the most highly ranked in the country) and currently has around 1500 undergraduate students, 300 post graduate students, and 200 students studying an executive MBA.  Much of the curriculum, and all the post graduate provision is taught in English. The school has a full university licence, and a range of other international accreditations, it has campuses in Vilnius Old Town with excellent facilities which is leased long term from the church.  There is also access to sufficient high-quality student accommodation through existing partnerships with local providers.

The School is currently owned by a group of shareholders, the majority shareholder is a large state technical university, who as a result of changes within the higher education system in the market (reorganisation) is keen to divest itself of the school as it does not fit with the new strategic direction of the institution (however they would like to retain a shareholding, and would be keen to explore other areas of strategic partnership with a UK university that takes on the school).

The founding rector, who established the school, and then went on to run one of the region’s largest retailers, and is now chairman of a major local private education provider (schools, vocational, and recently higher education in partnership with a UK university), is with the knowledge and blessing of the majority shareholder looking to find a UK university who would be interested in working with him to acquire a significant shareholding in the school, and then developing the school , both in terms of business courses, but also in terms of subject areas.


We know this market well, we have had a base there for almost 20 years, so know all the organisations and people involved, and can vouch for the quality of the opportunity.  This will give a UK university the chance to take on a successful and profitable school, in an EU market that is well positioned to take international students from the CIS and who’s government has a positive attitude towards international students, with a high quality faculty (both in terms of teaching and research) two good campuses with scope to grow, and a proven and skilled management team ready to support locally.


If you would be interested in finding out more about this opportunity, please let me know and I will arrange to come and meet with you to present in more detail and will also then be able to arrange initial video calls and visits with the relevant parties.

Franchise and Validation Opportunity Leading Regional Business School Croatia

XXXXX Business School is a leading regional business school, with campuses in Zagreb (Croatia) and Belgrade (Serbia).  The Business School was founded in 2002, and has developed a range of MBA programmes, as well as offering an extensive Executive Education programme.  The School is AMBA accredited and is looking for a quality UK university would be interested in franchising undergraduate business programmes, and also in validating their existing MBA provision.

If you would like further information, and to arrange a call with one of the founders of the school please let me know and we will arrange.

The University of XXXX TNE Opportunity

The University of XXXX was founded in 1970 and has 28,000 students.  The university is split into 11 faculties and the University employs 1,700 staff.  They are keen to grow the number of courses they teach in English and develop their recruitment across Europe and the globe.  To do this they would be keen to identify a UK university who would be interested in developing dual degree programmes across a number of areas.  They would look to start with programmes (mixture of UG and PG programmes) they are already delivering in English, and these include;

  • Business
  • Finance
  • Law and Administration
  • Cultural Communications
  • Physics and Medical Physics.

They would then also look to develop degrees in a range of areas.  The university is very strong in three areas, Biotechnology (Research ranked A +), Aquaculture and Tourism.  As well as TNE they are also keen to explore opportunities for Research Collaboration, especially in these areas.  They are currently developing a dual degree in Heritage Tourism with the University of Kolkata.


XXXX Dual Degree Opportunity

We have a very interesting Dual Degree opportunity in Poland.  XXX (the University of Social Science and Humanities) is the largest private university in Poland, with over 17,000 students.  The university was founded in 1996 by three leading phycology academics, and has now grown to five campuses across Poland, and the university teaches across a number of subject areas including Psychology, Sociology, Business, Law and Languages.  Many of their courses are taught in English, and they are keen to increase the number of international and European students, and as a result are keen to find a UK university they can partner with to launch a number of UG and PG Dual Degree programmes.  As they have an international reputation for their Psychology courses they do not wish to focus on these, but would like to start in the following areas:

  • Business
  • Law
  • English Studies
  • Design and Architecture


As well as teaching the University has highly ranked research (A+ in Psychology).

Czech TNE Opportunity Architecture

XXXX (Architectural Institute in Prague) is a unique progressive new school of architecture combining the best learning approaches with second–to–none practical training. Situated in one of the Prague’s most trending districts, and residing in the same complex as widely acclaimed DOX Centre for Contemporary Art (, XXXX offers a vibrant environment to grow professionally as well as a diverse community of students from over 35 countries.

XXXX as a full diploma school offers both professional undergraduate (BA) and graduate (MA) degrees in Architecture. Our students benefit from the free-spirited “family” atmosphere of the school and teacher to student ratio of less than 1:4. Even though most of our teachers are practicing architects themselves, more than 50% of teaching has the form of one-on-one tutorials (in case of MA education) and our studios, following the vertical studio principle, comprise of no more than 20 students.

We are gladly open to any form of international cooperation, be it a short-term collaboration on a workshop, a dual degree programme or a long-term exchange program.


Opportunity to establish a joint venture with established Bulgarian university on the development of a British “University Campus”

The Opportunity: We are aware of a potentially excellent opportunity for a UK university to develop an EU based campus in partnership with a leading private university, minimising the risk associated with this type of project.

The Idea:

To create a British campus in Bulgaria allowing a UK university to target EU students post BREXIT who would like to study in English for a UK Degree, as well as target international students, specifically from the CIS and Turkey where the partner already recruits strongly.  The Partner also has significant research in a number of areas, and significant success in attracting EU money.

The local partner university is ready to create a joint venture, which will have all relevant local licences and permissions (including the ability to access research funding) and support the development of the campus.

The private university has three campuses in Bulgaria, including Sofia (Capital) and Varna (Major costal city) and has capacity it can make available on all three sites.  It also has full degree awarding powers and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes in a number of areas including Business and Tourism.

The local partner is open for discussions around the type and structure of joint venture.

Why Bulgaria is a good place to base the campus.

The strength and experience of the local partner minimises risk.

There is existing facilities and student accommodation that can be used.

Local legislation allows for the campus to offer Dual Degree programmes with the local partner, or other Bulgarian university (depending on subject area), or simply offer the UK degree.

Bulgaria has a student loan system, allowing a Bulgarian (and EU student) to access a loan to cover the full cost of tuition.

There is a track record of local and international students paying a premium for an international degree (the American University charges $11,000 a year).

The cost of living in Bulgaria is low, and the weather, and quality of life in main cities is good, making it an attractive destination for international students.

The quality of education is good, and there is a good availability of high quality local faculty.

Bulgaria has a strong track record of attracting international students from the CIS markets and Turkey.


Czech Republic – Large scale franchise degree opportunity

We have an interesting opportunity from the Czech Republic, we have a well-established and highly ranked private university (mainly business subjects) with two campuses (Prague and Brno) looking to identify a UK university who would be interested in franchising both undergraduate and post graduate provision across a range of areas, which include Marketing, Media, Digital Media, Communication, Tourism, Psychology and Management in Healthcare.

A recent change in Czech legislation makes it straightforward for a University from the EU to form a partnership with a local University, and for that University to deliver franchised degree programmes from the EU partner (whilst not issuing a local degree).  There is a current example of this with Prague College ( ).

The partner believes there is a market locally for this provision, as well as an opportunity to target students from Pakistan and India (where they are already recruiting), and also believe there would be increased interest post BREXIT.

Strategic TNE Opportunity in Bulgaria

We are in discussions with one of the leading private universities in Bulgaria the university was founded in 1995 and has over 12,000 students.  The university offers a wide range of courses (including double diplomas with the Norwegian Business School), which they deliver on a full time, part time or distance learning basis.  The eight schools are based in three faculties

  • International Economics and Administration
  • Law
  • Architecture


They deliver many courses in English and are looking to develop a strategic TNE relationship with a UK university which will look to build a portfolio of dual degree programmes across a range of areas including Business, International Relations, Computer Studies, Psychology, Architecture, Construction Engineering, Fashion, Fashion management and Fine Arts.

The university recruits well internationally from Turkey and the CIS, and post BREXIT could make a good place to target European students (the Bulgarian student finance regulations would suit this).  There is also good quality research in a range of areas, and the university’s campus in the seaside town of Varna (Sunny Beach) makes this a good place for student life.

Lithuania Research Opportunity

We have an interesting research focused opportunity, it has been bought to us by XXXX (QS  551-600).  VGTU is one of the leading technical universities and is looking to develop a research partnership with a UK university.  This will be initiated with a bid to a new fund announced by the Lithuanian government


The university believes that this opportunity would suit a junior UK researcher looking to develop their career by developing and leading their own project and as such may be of interest to a UK university looking to support the career development of an academic.  The funding is up to €1 million for a project lasting a maximum of 48months.  The researcher will be responsible for building and leading an independent group of researchers (Lithuania and international) The research areas are flexible, but should focus on key Smart Specialisations priorities set by the Lithuanian government, these include;

  • Energy and a sustainable environment.
  • New production processes, materials and technologies.
  • Transport, logistic and information and communication technologies.
  • Fintech (Block-chain).
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality.


The university see this projects as a first step towards creating a joint research centre with their UK partner in the agreed subject area, it is expected there will be a call over the next 12 months for financial support to create these joint research centres (from the Lithuanian government) this research centre will be able to continue to access EU research funding post BREXIT.


Niche TNE/Partnership opportunity with Film School – Czech Republic

We have an interesting opportunity with a specialist film school based in the Czech Republic.

XXXX is a private film school, which offers specialisations in Screenwriting and Directing, Cinematography, Sound, Editing, Production and Animation. Hands-on experience and team-work are both given a strong emphasis throughout the study programme. The programme aims to equip graduates with a high level of technical competence and craft skills as well as to develop their creative skills to the highest artistic level possible. The course includes ongoing practical exercises in each semester. Teachers are professional artists and active filmmakers with numerous prizes and awards (Miroslav Ondříček, patron of the school, was nominated for Oscars with Amadeus).


The school is small but is currently developing a new campus in Prague and wishes to expand and believes a partnership with a film school from a UK university would be an important part of their strategic plan to bring in new students.  They are interested in offering dual degree provision at an Undergraduate and Post Graduate level.  I think numbers will be small to begin with, and I think this would only suit a university who is keen to develop a wider partnership with the institution to cover the development of summer schools, student mobility and research.  Please confirm if this is of interest and we can arrange an initial call.


Business TNE Opportunity Czech Republic

We have a small private university in the Czech Republic looking for a dual degree partner.  The University was founded in 2004 and has around 1200 students split across two campuses, one in Prague and one in Brno.  They have around 20% international students (they are seeing increasing numbers from India at the moment) and have been ranked as the best private university in the Czech Republic for the past five years.  They take a practical approach to teaching, with all students needing to take a compulsory placement each year.  The also mix academics and business people in the delivery of course, for example the President of the Czech National Bank currently delivers a course at the university.

They have a number of courses taught in English but would be interested in starting with an UG programme in Business Administration.  They are looking to develop a strategic relationship with a UK university to launch a number of dual degree programmes over the coming years.

XXXXX Czech Republic

The University of Hradec Kralove is a general university based in the Czech Republic, the university has around 7,000 students, and offers studies in the following fields:

  • Economics/Business
  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Educational Studies
  • Natural Sciences
  • IT


They have a strong selection of courses taught in English at both UG, PG and PHD levels (35) and have had some experience of working with UK universities in research (e.g. St Andrews on Toxicology) and have had a double degree in the past with the University of Huddersfield (mobility model).

The university already has the highest percentage of international students of any Czech state university.  They are keen to increase student numbers and believe a partnership with a UK university who would be able to offer dual degree programmes across a range of areas, and at a range of levels, and where there would also be scope for the development of joint research and student mobility would be key.

They believe the most promising initial areas for dual degree programmes are:

  • Informatics and Management
  • Political Science
  • Arts
  • Chemistry
  • Toxicology

University of XXXXX Czech Republic

We have been in discussions with the Technical University of XXXX (QS ranking 801-1000).  The University is based in the Czech Republic, it is a state university, with around 18,000 students, of which 2,000 are international.  The number of international students is growing, and the university is keen to develop the number of courses it delivers in English, and as part of that create a relationship with a UK university (or a small number of universities) that could offer partnership on dual degree programmes across a number of areas.  The university already has a dual degree with Liverpool John Moores (MBA) so understands what the development of a TNE relationship looks like.

They initially want to focus on Master’s programmes (for non-EU international students, target numbers 30+ per course) but would also look at the development of undergraduate programmes for EU students.  Current fees are between 4,000 and 5,000 euro a year for Masters.  The areas they are interested in initially are:

  • Marketing/Business
  • Mechatronics
  • Applied Mechanics
  • Telecommunications Technology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering

There would then be scope to develop other areas.

Cormack Consultancy operate in over 50 countries around the world

Overseas Opportunities


If you would like to discuss any items in the newsletter further please email and we can arrange a time for a call or meeting.

Major Branch Campus Opportunity

We have a significant opportunity for a well ranked UK university to develop a branch campus in the EU. This novel project will see a UK university co-locate with a state university in CEE. The UK university will be able to utilise existing high-quality facilities and potentially access local faculty to support in delivery.  The UK university will also be able to potentially continue to access EU research funding through their involvement in a major local research centre.  In exchange the UK university would be expected to offer capacity building support to the State university as it looks to re-establish itself in the local market following a change in local student funding that has impacted its student recruitment.  The project has the support of the local municipality, business community and national political support.

Education Faculty Development

We have an opportunity, in the Baltic.  The Lithuanian government has embarked on a consolidation of their State universities.  The first stage of this involves the creation of two Centres of Excellence in Teacher Training.  These are in effect the creation of two new education faculties within existing universities.  One is a top research-intensive university (one of the highest ranked in CEE) and the other is with a strong regional university.  We have successfully supported the development of the partnership with the research intensive university, but will be helping the other university identify a relevant UK partner to work with.

Opportunity summary:

To work with the regional university on the development of their faculty.  This is a much larger and more intensive project the other one.  The university is looking for flying faculty support; support on curriculum development; support on development of their lecturers; initial support in teaching of students; support in the development of research activity; and support in setting up faculty management.  This will be a three to four year project.

The project will be funded by the Ministry of Education and devolved EU structural funds (106 million euro has been committed to the overall university consolidation project)

Academic Partner for a CPD and MSc Program for Teachers and School Leaders in Eastern Europe

An important private funded charity organisation from an Eastern European country which specialises in education is looking to set up a CPD program and possibly an MSc program dedicated to school teachers and principals around the country. The program will be dedicated to public as well as private K12 schools and will include a privately funded scholarship scheme for participants from challenging communities.
The client has a particular interest in collaborating with a reputable university that currently operates successful education related programs for school staff (teachers and principals). One or more universities might be selected to work in the project.

University Staff Development

We have three CEE universities (same geographic market) looking for university partners who can develop and deliver staff development programmes. All are in receipt of significant funding to support this (around 1 million euro each).  It is likely that each university would be looking for a different partner.

Teacher Training

We have a substantial opportunity for a UK university or college (or a group of institutions) to develop a national project to support the development of vocational and high school teachers.  The project should look at improving the individual’s English language and teaching skills.  It is envisaged that the project would be delivered through online/in-country delivery and summer school activity.  The project will be funded through the Ministry and devolved EU funding and should be done in partnership with a local partner who can manage the role in-country.  The Minister is taking an interest in the development of this project as they see it as key for allowing vocational and high school sectors to improve.  We have identified the UK partner who will be developing the pilot project.

Quality Assurance

We are aware of an opportunity for a UK based organisation to offer consultancy and support to a European Ministry of Education looking to review the country’s Quality Assurance system for higher education.  They wish the partner to be able to review the current methodology and make recommendations to strengthen the process and ensure the driving of higher quality across all degree awarding institutions.

School Improvement Project

We have further details of a new school improvement opportunity in Lithuania which we outlined in our January Newsletter. One of the main Municipalities and a local NGO (with the support of the Lithuanian School Evaluation Agency) is keen to find a UK partner to support in the development of a School Improvement Project. Phase one will be to work with the municipality and NGO on the review and development of current evaluation criteria allowing the Municipality to identify failing schools and develop action plans to improve their performance. Phase two will be to implement the activity needed to support the local schools (this will involve a partnership with the NGO) and possibly a local university as well as the provision of structured training and consultancy.

The funding for Phase one has been secured through the Municipality and as a result the partners are keen to move forward and identify a UK university or consultancy with relevant experience that would be able to offer support and guidance in the development of the criteria and process needed to identify failing schools.

Module Development (Law)

A State university in CEE is looking for a UK partner to develop and support in the delivery of a number of modules in Common Law and UK Corporate Law which they wish to integrate into existing degree provision.  They also want the partner to run summer schools which the local university will offer to students from other universities and the local legal market.

Franchise Degree Partnership (IT)

We have four European universities currently looking to find UK universities interested in looking at offering dual degree opportunities.  Two are quality private universities and two are regional state funded universities.

Dual Degree (International project management)

A leading CEE Business School (part of leading European university) is looking for a dual degree partner for a Masters degree in International Project Management.

Dual Degree (Fintech)

A large technical university is seeking support in developing a Fintech Masters degree (preparation underway) followed by the launching of a dual Masters degree.

Dual Degree (Business Management and Corporate Finance & Marketing/Communication)

A leading private Czech university, with over 30% international students, is looking to find a quality UK partner for delivery of dual degrees in the two subject areas above (they already have established programmes in these areas).  This university already has a successful relationship with a US university delivering an MBA.

Dual Degree/Research (Multiple Areas of Cooperation)

A leading State university in Czech Republic is keen to develop cooperation with UK universities post-BREXIT in terms of dual degree programmes (Undergraduate and Postgraduate) and joint research.  The University has a large number of courses taught in English and faculties interested in cooperation include Education, Social Studies, Arts, Dentistry, Law and Science.

Dual Degree/Research (Business/Languages/Computer Science/Law)

A leading Romanian State university is keen to develop relationships with comparable UK universities to develop dual degree programmes and joint research in a number of areas where the University already has provision taught in English.  The University is looking for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Double Degree (Engineering)

A Portuguese university is seeking a UK university to offer a dual degree in a few areas of Engineering (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical) They have existing demand from international students.

Double Degree (Undergraduate Engineering)

A large and well respected technical university is looking for a high-quality UK university partner to develop undergraduate double degree programmes in General Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering.  Good volumes projected.

Double Degree (PG Media Philosophy)

A leading Lithuanian University is looking for a partner to offer a double degree in Media Philosophy.

Double Degree (PG Technical Translations)

A leading technical university is seeking a partner to develop a double degree in Technical Translation.

Double Degree (Undergraduate Applied Physics)

A well ranked CEE State university looking to develop a double degree programme in Applied Physics.

Double Degree (International Business)

A leading Portuguese Business School (FT top 60) looking for a UK university to offer double degree in International Business.


If you would like to discuss any items in the newsletter further please email and we can arrange a time for a call or meeting.


Market access to Lithuania

Some thoughts on the German Higher Education Market 2018

Some thoughts on the German market in 2018

This month we have asked our partner in Germany, David Scrimgeour, to give his overview of the German Higher Education market, as we believe there are some interesting opportunities for UK universities and colleges to explore. However, it is important to note that Germany takes a more focused effort than some other European markets (but the rewards are potentially greater) and it is important to have a clear idea of the strategy you are going to follow and be prepared to make the necessary investment to make the market a success.

If you would like to have a conversation about the market let us know and we can arrange a call.

Higher Education in Germany

There are three types of higher education institutions in Germany:

  • Universities offer strong theoretical and academically-oriented degree programmes and a broad range of disciplines. Some universities have specialised in certain subject areas e.g. technical topics, medicine and education.
  • Universities of applied sciences – Instruction is strongly practice-oriented. The course work provides the theoretical background and also prepares students for the real-world requirements of professional life. Internships and practical semesters form an integral part of the degree programmes.
  • Colleges of art, film and music – offer instruction in Fine Arts, Acting, Dance, Industrial and Fashion Design, Graphic Art, Instrumental Music and Singing. Students enrolled at colleges for modern media are trained to become directors, camera operators, screenwriters and film and television professionals.

There are 427 state accredited institutions in c.180 towns and cities around Germany. Together these offer a total of over 18,000 degree programmes.  In the winter semester 2014/2015, almost 2.7 million students were enrolled at state-accredited institutions of higher education in Germany:

  • 7 million students at 107 universities
  • 930,000 students at 246 universities of applied sciences
  • 35,000 students at 52 colleges of art, film and music
  • 2,500 at 16 colleges of theology
  • 25,000 at six universities of education

(Source: Federal Statistical Office)

English language courses – Around 900 accredited courses are offered in English and this trend is increasing. The purpose is to further develop German students’ command of English and their international experience as well as to attract foreign students to study in Germany. However, at the moment only 130 of these are bachelor degrees.

Online education – Distance learning in various forms is increasing but there remains some scepticism about this approach. There are around 100 degree courses available in English at German universities with online elements. The private universities and some new online service providers are focusing more on this area and there have been a number of start-ups and also recent international acquisitions by US groups reflecting this development.

Refugees – The university sector is responding to the refugee crisis by offering courses specifically targeted at non-German speakers and those who cannot prove their prior qualifications. In total 80 universities already have programmes to assist. German universities dealt with about 50,000 additional students in Autumn 2016, not only from Syria, but also from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. The German Ministry of Education and Research allocated €100 million for the next four years to help German universities integrate refugee students.

Private universities

There are 135 private universities – most of them universities of applied sciences (see above) – in Germany whose degrees are certified by state agencies.  Around 7% of students in Germany attend a private university and although private universities charge tuition fees this trend is increasing. The main drivers for this growth are the internationalisation of the education sector together with the demand from both German students and companies for more relevant HE and FE courses.

The private education sector is growing at a fast pace in the area of business studies in particular. Private universities now offer 60% of all business administration courses available in Germany. Over half of all part-time Bachelor students are enrolled at a private university.

There is a wide variety of focus, business models and ownership structures. A number of the larger groups and universities provide degree courses in English and have highly developed international networks, mainly for student exchanges. Some universities are targeting foreign students which, in turn, generate a requirement for English-language courses, particularly at Bachelor level.

Further education – Companies in Germany are engaging with private universities more readily than with the public universities although it remains a demanding and fragmented market. The growing demand for further education – “Weiterbildung” – is increasing the need for DL solutions. Some universities are specialised in this and others have not yet begun to tackle it. Nevertheless the private education sector is much more active than the public in developing distance learning solutions for FE students.


There are interesting opportunities for cooperation across Germany’s HE and FE sectors and private universities provide more immediate access for foreign institutions interested to explore Europe’s largest market. The areas of interest include joint degrees, cross-licensing of courses, teaching partnerships and the development of online education solutions.

The main modes of market entry are partnership, joint venture or acquisition. As a first step market research is necessary to identify the German target organisations which match to the strategy for business development in the German market.

If you would like to have a chat about this, please let me know by emailing

Cormack Consultancy - Market access in Europe

Key Recent Trends

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.

Whats Happening this Month

The advantage of having local staff on the ground in around 30 markets round the globe is that we can pick up some useful information on how the education market is developing, and how we can support UK universities and colleges in getting involved in projects which will support that strategic direction. Below are some nuggets we picked up over the last few weeks.


A report issued by the Portuguese government at the end of January showed that there was a 12% increase in non-EU international students last year, continuing a recent trend which has seen international student numbers increase by 75% over the past 5 years.  Most are coming from ex-Portuguese colonies – Brazil Angola and Mozambique.  There has also been a substantial increase in students coming from the EU, particularly Italy and Poland. This increase in the international student market has seen some substantial international investment (including from Collegiate) and we are working with a growing number of UK university clients on the development of a two-year Masters programme (1 year in Portugal on in the UK).

We are also seeing increased interest from Portuguese Polytechnics who deliver both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees looking for UK partners for dual degree programmes.  Areas of interest include Engineering, Business and Creative Industries.


Interest is growing in the support UK universities and colleges can offer to both Community Colleges and the private sector in the development and delivery of apprenticeships.

President Trump signed an executive order in June 2016 accelerating the development of apprenticeship provision and empowering a range of organisations including community colleges, universities, trade unions, trade associations and private companies to develop and deliver provision.

We have several UK colleges and universities in discussions with community colleges about supporting them in the development of relevant provision (consultancy, curriculum development, employer engagement and training).  We also have some of our university clients in direct discussions with US companies about developing and delivering provision for them.

We are also in discussions with the American Association of Community Colleges about developing programmes that will allow for community colleges to offer articulation pathways to UK universities who are on the Federal funding list.

Czech Republic

We continue to see interest from a range of Czech universities looking to form double degree programmes with UK universities, these vary from leading state universities through to private universities.  The laws in the Czech Republic mean that degree programmes delivered in Czech are free or very low cost, however there are no restrictions on the pricing of degree programmes taught in English, and as a result Czech universities are now looking to target non-EU students (particularly from the CIS markets).  We have a few Czech universities looking for partners for this and for the development of joint research projects.

Baltic States

Both the Latvian and Lithuanian governments are actively trying to encourage UK universities to consider them as the base for an EU campus post-BREXIT.  They are also actively supporting the development of joint faculties between state universities and UK universities.  We are working on many of these projects now, including supporting the development of two joint faculties, and the creation of a strategic partnership between a state university and a UK university which would allow the UK institution to open a branch campus within the existing infrastructure.

We have also been asked to support in the development of a major new project to create an IT education centre in one of the Baltic States. This has government support, but more importantly, the support of several global companies.  The aim is to create a centre capable of hosting 3,000 students.

Lithuania has also announced a very generous funding to encourage international universities to partner with local universities.  Funding of up to 3 million euro is available to Lithuanian universities looking to establish a joint research centre with an international partner.  We already have one client in discussions.


We have been approached by the Ukrainian government to help them understand potential opportunities for encouraging UK universities to engage with universities in Ukraine. I will be meeting with the Ministry in Kiev in mid-February and will report back in the next Newsletter.

Other Markets

We are also in discussions with universities in Italy, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden and Bulgaria around their strategies and will report back next month on these markets.

Cormack Consultancy Now working in 55 countries

Current International Trends in the education sector

International Trends in the Education Sector – January 2018

The key trends we have picked up across a number of regions this month are:

 Course Licensing: European universities are looking to license unaccredited course material to either supplement their current provision or launch new English taught degree programmes. This month we have assisted in the licensing of a range of material in areas including:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Energy
  • Law

 Vocational Learning: There is a definite prioritising of vocational education across a number of Central and Eastern European markets.  They are looking for support in a range of areas including teacher training, curriculum development and employer engagement.

 Private Sector and UK Universities: We have had two projects we have been working on this month which has seen the private sector link with UK universities to franchise degree programmes, one in Nursing will have 200 students, and the other in IT will have 150.  We have now been approached by two other organisations to help them find a UK partner.

 Europe targeting non-EU & EU Students

It is clear the many European Universities see BREXIT providing an opportunity for them to increase both domestic and EU student numbers, they are also aware that the current governments attitude to non-EU students means that there is also scope for targeting international students.  We have seen a significant increase in Indian, Pakistani, and Chinese students coming to other parts of Europe, particularly CEE.

Charles Cormack

Some thoughts on the European Education Market in 2018

It is clear that BREXIT is a game changer for UK universities; however it is not clear what the rules of the new game will be.  I think it is prudent to make some assumptions based on the type of exit which looks likely now:

  • We will see a massive drop in EU students coming to study in the UK at undergraduate level (probably over 80%)
  • Student mobility through Erasmus is at risk
  • Research funding is at risk and many universities are already seeing academics being tempted to look at universities within the EU to continue their careers and research

As well as BREXIT changes universities will also face:

  • Shrinking student numbers due to demographic changes
  • Continued pressure on international student recruitment bought about by the government’s policy on international student Visas

Therefore universities are facing a ’perfect storm’ when it comes to the international environment. BREXIT turns the EU, a market of over 400 million people on our doorstep, into an international market rather than the domestic market so many institutions have considered it up until now.  As a result, little serious work has been done over the past twenty years to build real strategic partnerships with European universities or build robust recruitment strategies.

This means that as the market fundamentally changes many UK universities are not in a position to cope with, or take advantage of, that change.  But as in business, market disruption will create opportunities for universities prepared to look at the European market and engage with it imaginatively.

There has been coverage in the press around UK universities looking to open campuses in Europe, and this certainly has considerable merit for a number of institutions, however this type of activity will have considerable financial and political risks.  One way to mitigate the risk which we have seen (and are indeed involved in supporting) is the purchasing of Private Universities in markets that are keen to attract UK universities.  In our view the keenness of government and politicians, both local and national, is absolutely key to this strategy and some of the Central and Eastern European markets are being open in their wish to attract UK universities to locate branch campuses in their markets.

A less risky approach is to look at developing high quality strategic TNE relationships with universities in different parts of Europe. These relationships have to be based not only on a good academic fit, but also on the vision of the partner university for its own growth.  We are seeing that many European universities are looking at how to attract more European students following BREXIT.  An event likely to create a new market of around 100,000 students a year.  The fact that these students would naturally have come to the UK means that a strategic link with a UK university will help them in this battle to attract new students.

These partnerships can also allow UK universities to divert international students from markets that present Tier 4 issues to partner universities in Europe. Thus helping both the local university in developing international student numbers while at the same time allowing the UK university to benefit financially from involvement in the education of these students.

Further by-products are likely to include the potential to remain involved in EU funded research projects; as well as institutions that UK universities can develop non-Erasmus reliant mobility relationships with.

However, what is clear to us is that attitudes are changing quickly on all sides. In the UK, universities are becoming a little less arrogant in the way they interact with potential European partners as they understand BREXIT brings a subtle shift to the dynamics of the relationship and European universities understand this shift and many are actively looking at taking advantage of it by forming potentially profitable relationships with UK partners.

News from our markets

News from our markets

The advantage of having local staff on the ground in around 30 markets round the globe is that we can pick up some useful information on how the education market is developing, and how we can support UK clients in getting involved in projects which will support that strategic direction.

Below are some nuggets we picked up over the last few weeks.


The Portuguese government is encouraging all universities to internationalise, and whilst speaking to a number of university senior managers over the past few weeks we have picked up that there has been a significant increase in student numbers from Brazil coming to Portugal to study, and whilst most coming for undergraduate programmes want to study in Portuguese those coming for Masters are increasingly looking for courses taught in English.  This means that universities are keen to develop double degree programmes with UK universities; these are 2 year Masters, with one year delivered by the UK university in the UK.  We already have three under development, and we think this route offers UK universities the chance to tap into the potentially lucrative growth in Brazilian students coming to Europe to study.

Czech Republic

We have seen a big rise in interest from a range of Czech universities looking to form double degree programmes with UK universities, these vary from leading state universities through to private universities.  The laws in the Czech Republic mean that degree programmes delivered in Czech are free or very low cost, however there are no restrictions on the pricing of degree programmes taught in English and as a result Czech Universities are now looking to target non-EU students (particularly from the CIS markets).  We have a number of Czech Universities looking for partners for this, and also for the development of joint research projects.


Most UK universities have seen a rise in the number of US students coming to study in the UK over the past couple of years.  We have developed an innovative model where we license 2 years of undergraduate course material to US community colleges (from the OU unaccredited) and partner the community college with a specific UK university who takes the students into third year.  We already have five UK universities taking part in this initiative and we think it could be a good way for UK universities to break into what has always been a difficult market.

We are also supporting a number of universities, colleges and Accrediting Bodies who are looking to exploit the opportunities created by the opening up of the apprenticeship market in the USA.  We believe this will continue to be a major opportunity for UK education providers as local organisations look to quickly develop provision.

Baltic States

Both the Latvian and Lithuanian governments are actively trying to encourage UK universities to consider them as the base for an EU campus post BREXIT.  They are also actively supporting the development of joint faculties between state universities and UK universities.  We are working on a number of these projects at the moment, including supporting the development of two joint faculties and the creation of a strategic partnership between a state University and a UK university which would allow the UK institution to open a branch campus within the existing infrastructure.


In addition there is an initiative to support the development of vocational teaching which will see the commissioning of some substantial teacher training projects over the next 12 months.


Cormack Consultancy - working with us

Opportunities Update- Education

Education Opportunity Update

Welcome to our September opportunities update, we are aware that many of you will be very busy with the start of term, but wanted to let you know about some of the current international opportunities we are seeing for both universities and colleges.  These are in no particular order and cover opportunities across a range of markets including the USA, Brazil, CIS, Baltic States, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Romania and the Ukraine.

If you would like further information please email and we can arrange a call to brief you further.

 BREXIT Mitigation

We are working with a number of universities and colleges to help develop strategies to mitigate the potential effects of BREXIT.  We have developed a number of innovative ideas and would be happy to share our thoughts with others.

US Apprenticeships

On 15th June 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that has dramatically accelerated the roll out of apprenticeships in the USA.  We are already supporting a number of UK universities and accrediting bodies in exploring this market and we believe there will be significant opportunities for more UK universities, colleges and accrediting bodies.

European Nursing School
We are supporting a significant Central European private health provider, who is looking to find a UK university partner to develop and deliver a UK Nursing Undergraduate Programme in-country, this is a major long-term project.

Universities for Sale
We are aware of a number of European private universities, with full local accreditation, who are interested in attracting a UK university as a strategic investor/partner.  We believe this type of relationship could offer UK universities significant opportunities as the full impact of BREXIT is felt.

IT Courses
We are working with a major CEE IT training provider, that currently delivers high level training to around 1000 students a year.  They are looking for a UK university partner who would be able to offer Undergraduate and Masters Programmes to students in IT, Web Design, Data Science and Digital Marketing.

Course Licencing
We have demand from a number of universities, including German universities, that are looking to licence UK university degree programmes content (unaccredited) in a range of subject areas.

English Language Training
We are aware of a number of opportunities across a range of countries including Brazil, Portugal and Romania for the provision of English Language training for students (preparing to study in English), teachers and lecturers and the private sector (Trade associations etc.).

Programme for School Improvement
We have been asked by a CEE Ministry to find organisations in the UK who might be interested in consulting on the development of a School Improvement Programme focusing on supporting the 200 weakest high schools.

Teacher Training
We have another significant opportunity for a UK university or FE college to work in partnership with a university in CEE to develop a new faculty in teacher training focused on primary and secondary school teachers.  This project has support from the local Ministry of Education.

Dual Degree Programmes
We have a number of European universities looking for UK partners for the development of Dual Degree Programmes across a wide range of subject areas.  These universities want to work in partnership with their UK partners to market these degree programmes to international (non EU students).  We believe this could offer a significant opportunity for the UK university to grow their international student numbers through the delivery of Dual Degree Programmes in markets that are more attractive to international students.


Charles Cormack

How can UK universities mitigate the effects of Brexit?

How can UK universities mitigate the effects of Brexit?

UK universities have led the world for many years in the provision and delivery of higher education to international students. There are currently around 310,000 international (non-EU) students, and 127,000 EU students studying in UK, generating approximately £25 billion for the UK economy.

Providing education to international students is extremely important to British universities and has historically been particularly lucrative, the ability to attract and retain top talent from around the world also enhances universities ability to attract funding for innovative research, and contributions to enriching the university experience for all students.

A British degree is still amongst the most highly regarded globally. However, the government is under political pressure regarding migration to the UK, and has pledged to act to reduce numbers. Unfortunately, this has dramatically decreased the number of international (non-EU) students particularly from India, Pakistan and parts of Africa.

The slowdown in the world economy has also hit the UK market as students from outside the EU have begun to look at other markets such as Australia and Holland, to find high quality higher education taught in English. To address this, UK universities have started to establish campuses abroad, i.e. in China, Malaysia and Singapore, and have established dual and joint degree programmes in Asia and Africa.

Looking abroad

The Brexit vote has put extra stress on the viability of some institutions with around 700 job losses since. It is forecast that Brexit will lead to a drop of around 80% in the number of EU students coming to study in the UK, and threatens student mobility through Erasmus programmes and research funding through Horizon 20:20.

It is now more important than ever that UK Universities look at the EU as an international market. So how should universities approach this change?

They have a number of options.

Stopping International Work

A small number of regional universities may consider stopping international activity altogether. However, in a more global world, young people do not want to attend an insular institution.

Establishing a Branch Campus

Some institutions are looking at the possibility of establishing a physical presence in Europe and purchasing relevant local licences which will allow them to teach and deliver degrees, and access research funding. This sounds like a daunting prospect, but in fact buying a private university is not as expensive as you may think.

Create Dual Degree Programmes (Deep Partnership)

This may be the best solution for most universities. For both under and post-graduate courses, UK and EU universities can form close partnerships to deliver their degrees in the partners country. The UK university would be able to support the recruitment of international students from countries where visa regulations would make coming to the UK an issue, also the likely price differential will potentially open new markets with a dual branding and marketing opportunity. Higher education has always benefited from international student populations and Brexit is forecast to affect these populations badly. The possibilities outlined above could allow UK universities to continue their involvement in international education, as well as allowing local partner universities to increase international student numbers.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact Charles by email at