Professor Anne Carlisle, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of Falmouth University, talks Brexit

Many are asking what impact Brexit will have on Higher Education in Cornwall, but few are asking what impact Higher Education can have in Cornwall after Brexit.

It’s an important question because universities are intrinsically linked with industry, innovation, information and fostering the talents and creativity of the young people who will shape our county’s future.

There is great political, economic and social uncertainly as the dust settles after the referendum result, but there is something that is definite: Higher Education will play a vital role in contributing to the wealth – both financial and cultural – of Britain and particularly of Cornwall, beyond the “triggering” of Article 50.

Over a decade, the European Union has invested more than £100 million pounds in improving access to Higher Education in Cornwall. Falmouth University has been a major beneficiary of that funding; it has been instrumental in our growth.

We’re now proud to be ranked as the number one university for the creative industries in the UK, we are sixth in the country for the percentage of our graduates in employment after 6 months, one in every 200 jobs in the county is supported by us, and we contribute more than £1million a week to the Cornish economy. More of Cornwall’s young people are accessing Higher Education than ever before and our key strategic objective of helping to grow Cornwall will not waver.

Although EU funding has assisted our growth, our continued successes are not dependent on more European money and neither is our continued contribution to the local economy. Together with colleagues at the universities of Plymouth and Exeter, and with Further Education providers in the county, we will continue to work with local and national businesses to share knowledge, develop ground-breaking, industry-facing courses, support new research, foster start-up enterprises and create graduates with desirable skills and strong connections to the county where they can stay and contribute their energy, ideas and abilities.

Less tangibly, but perhaps more importantly in a turbulent and unsettled period, universities are in a position to articulate and enhance our creative and connected communities; within and across borders. From fine art, to architecture; music to marine biology, English to engineering, creativity and knowledge speaks to all of us, regardless of nationality or ethnicity.

At Falmouth University, our students are drawn from over 100 countries around the globe and our campus is a vibrant assembly of cultures and ideas. Our academic staff collaborate with colleagues all over the world, pooling their resources and expertise.

The satisfaction of, and value in, sharing knowledge across borders has always been recognised. Europe’s network of scholars precedes the creation of the EU and has weathered greater challenges than Brexit. We will continue to foster our links with colleagues in Europe and globally, to ensure they remain strong and advantageous to Cornwall, which after all, has always been in the vanguard of communication, commerce and discovery.