Higher education 'can thrive in Ireland after UK exit'
Brexit represents a major opportunity for Ireland's higher education system, provided it gets the necessary State supports.
The potential benefits include attracting more investment for research, more foreign students and more quality academics, but it will require investment and the right initiatives, the Oireachtas Education Committee was told.
Dr Graham Love, the recently appointed chief executive of the Higher Education Authority (HEA), outlined the opportunities and challenges posed by Brexit for Ireland to a committee hearing yesterday.
He said higher education and research should feature as a key component of the Government's Brexit strategy, adding that third-level presidents and other senior personnel in the sector were developing recommendations to support that.
There was an opportunity to position Ireland globally as a distinctive, high-quality, international hub, through ventures such as new partnerships with other EU higher education institutions and targeted initiatives to recruit international students, academics and professionals, he said.
But Dr Love also warned of the challenges and said that Ireland's higher education system would "not have all the opportunities" presented by a UK exit from the EU to itself.
While an advantage for Ireland is that it will be one of only two English-speaking countries in the EU after Brexit, Dr Love pointed out that many European countries were building up their English-language provision.
He also cautioned about the poor visibility of Ireland, as a destination, in some countries, the limitations of the current capacity of the system and a historic lack of investment in higher education and research in Ireland.