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Oxford University Denies Claims It Will Open Paris Campus In Post-Brexit Move For EU Funding

But could Warwick be about to accept the proposal?

20/02/2017 11:31 GMT | Updated 20/02/2017 12:11 GMT

Oxford University has denied claims that it is about open a campus in Paris to counter the impact of Britain leaving the EU. 

It had been reported that leaders at the UK’s oldest university were considering a “satellite” campus in the French capital to ensure the continuation of EU funding post-Brexit

But the university has now said it has no plans to branch out onto foreign soil in what would have been the first time in its 700-year history. 

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It was reported that Oxford University was looking at opening a campus in Paris in response to a funding threat caused by Brexit 

A spokesperson from Oxford told The Huffington Post UK: “The university has received several constructive and helpful proposals from European colleagues since the Brexit vote.

“We are not, however, pursuing the model of a campus overseas.”

The Telegraph reported that leaders at Oxford met with French officials last week to discuss the possibility of expanding across the Channel. 

If the plans had gone ahead, construction of the new campus would have begun in 2018.

The university would have relocated certain degree courses and research labs to their Europe base to protect the funding they currently receive from the European Commission. 

Despite Oxford’s decision to decline the offer, Britain could still see some of its top institutions branch out into Europe post-Brexit. 

Other leading universities have reportedly also been approached with the proposal by Parisian academics, including Russell Group institution Warwick. 

A spokesperson from the university told HuffPo UK: ““Last week we were delighted to be able to host a significant delegation from the leadership of several  Parisian universities, and to hear from them about their future plans to work together.

“We continue to be interested to hear how those plans evolve and how they might also involve partner universities from across Europe.”

Jean-Michel Blanquer, dean of a top Parisian university and former director-general of the French ministry for education, told the newspaper that a concerted effort was being made to establish some of the UK’s best universities in France. 

“We want to say to British universities: ‘it can be a win-win game for you’,” he said. “To have high quality institutions from the UK working in our territory, interacting together in terms of research and collaboration.”  

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French academics are approaching some of Britain's leading universities about expanding to Paris 

Leading academics are in talks with the French government about the plans, Blanquer added. 

The project follows a series of warnings from academics about the impact of leaving the EU on the UK’s universities. 

In January, a group of top professors told MPs that a hard Brexit would be the “biggest disaster” in higher education in years, arguing that the move would make universities “extremely uncompetitive”, while a block on international students and staff would lead to “brain drain”. 

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s best universities and research institutions, and we intend to secure the best possible outcome for the UK’s research base as we exit the EU.” 

They said that the department had already “taken steps” by “committing to underwrite Horizon 2020 grants bid for prior to the UK’s departure from the EU and put science and research at the heart of our Industrial Strategy with an extra £2 billion investment per year. 

The department also hopes to continue collaboration with European partners on “major science, research and technology initiatives”.