Surprise outcome can provide opportunities

Prof Mike ThomasProf Mike Thomas
Prof Mike Thomas
'˜UCLan joined the vast majority of other UK universities in backing the Remain campaign and while this isn't the result we had hoped for, we now need to redouble our efforts in healing the nation's deep divide which this referendum has clearly highlighted.

What we saw last week was a lack of hope for the future among young people, especially those in some of the most disadvantaged cities and regions of the country.

Every university will be considering how they will respond to these social divisions and frustrations.

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At UCLan it only reaffirms my belief that we must intensify our strategies to reach out through local economic and community development programmes.

Growing the skills of local workforces and fostering opportunities through locally focused enterprise, innovation and productivity has never been more important.

Decoupling from the EU will take time.

It’s a complicated process which is likely to take at least two years. Already there are signs coming from Brexit leaders of a softening on key issues including free movement of people and the European Free Trade agreement.

We must now convince the UK Government to takes steps to ensure that staff and students from EU countries can continue to work and study at British universities and to promote the UK as a welcoming destination for the brightest and best minds.

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EU and international students make a powerful contribution to university research and teaching and have a positive impact on the British economy and society.

We will also prioritise securing opportunities for our researchers and students to access vital pan-European programmes and build new global networks.

Our university is in a very financially stable position and the referendum result will not pose a threat to our future or our Campus Masterplan development.

We are also committed to holding EU student fee levels in line with those of home students for 2016/17 and 2017/18 entrants for the duration of their course, rather than raising them to the rates of International student fees as some institutions may choose to do.

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At UCLan I like to think that the values of tolerance, inclusion and compassion are in our DNA.

We are very much a university at the heart of the community and although the road ahead will not be straightforward, I am optimistic that we have a bright future and will continue to play a key role in the development of Preston’s future