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Oxford denies plans to set up French campus

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Chris Allnutt

The University of Oxford has denied that it intends to set up a satellite campus in France.

The denial came after the Telegraph reported that Oxford, along with at least one other Russell Group university, had been in talks with French officials about possible ways of retaining their European links post-Brexit.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, a former director of the French Ministry of Education, confirmed that senior members of the department were in discussion with universities in the UK.

However, Oxford have denied the suggestions. A spokesman said, “We have received constructive & helpful proposals from EU colleagues since the Brexit vote. We are not, however, pursuing a campus overseas.”

The university sector in Britain is heavily intertwined with the EU, and as Brexit negotiations look to begin this year the extent to which universities can maintain their links with Europe will come under scrutiny.

According to the Association of University Directors of Estates, 19,000 jobs in higher education and 14% of UK income from research grants come from the EU. Applications from EU students to UK universities dropped 7% in 2016, MPs were told in a select committee hearing in January, with Cambridge seeing a 14% drop.

15% of Oxford’s student body are EU citizens, according to official university figures.

It would mark the first time in the University’s history that a campus has opened overseas.

Many other universities in Britain maintain campuses in other countries, with Nottingham’s in Ningbo in China and in Malaysia being among the largest, with about 5,000 and 3,400 students respectively.

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