Trinity ‘devastated’ by Brexit, as it highlights decline in NI students

College publishes open letter in FT urging ‘prudence, deliberation and foresight’

Trinity highlighted the deep links with UK-based universities and research institutions and expressed concerns about “the threat of rupture to more than four centuries of academic collaboration”

Trinity highlighted the deep links with UK-based universities and research institutions and expressed concerns about “the threat of rupture to more than four centuries of academic collaboration”

 

Trinity College Dublin has seen a 20 per cent decline in applications from students in the North this year due to Brexit, it said an open letter published in the Financial Times.

In the letter, the college said it was “devastated” by the decision of the UK to leave the European Union and called for “prudence, deliberation and foresight” on the part of those working on its exit strategy.

It highlighted the deep links with UK-based universities and research institutions and expressed concerns about “the threat of rupture to more than four centuries of academic collaboration”.

“Irish and UK researchers currently enjoy almost 1,000 collaborations under the EU’s Horizon2020 programme, far more than Ireland has with any other country,” the college said.

“Many UK universities are the best in Europe, and it’s not wishful thinking to expect the EU to do everything to maintain our research links, but this won’t be easy if the UK leaves under WTO rules,” it added.

Trinity said in the 1950s and 1960s it had more students from Belfast than from Dublin, but that this had declined sharply in the 1990s, only to rebound again in recent years. However, the college said it had witnessed a 20 per cent decline in applications from the North so far this year, compared to 2017.

“A vanishing few optimists might still speak of a “Brexit opportunity” for Ireland. In Trinity we’re seeing an increase in applications from UK-based academics interested in moving here. Many of them are outstanding but in truth we’d prefer to keep collaborating with them through existing programmes. We believe many researchers in Ireland, the UK and the EU feel the same,” it said.

The college said the open letter, in the form of a quarter-page advertisement, arose after Trinity student Marie Sophie Hingst recently won an essay prize on Edmund Burke and the future of Europe and of the university.