The UK’s oldest university has refuted claims that it is looking to open a campus in France, contrary to reports.
The former director at the French ministry for education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, told the Telegraph senior officials had met in Oxford last week to discuss ways in which the university could continue to receive EU funding through a campus based in France.
Blanquer confirmed he had been in contact with other British universities, including Warwick, and said their campuses in France would receive French legal status, allowing the new bodies to receive EU funding.
Oxford told CNBC that it had received "constructive and helpful proposals" to help the university maintain access to EU funds after the Brexit vote, but they "are not, however, pursuing the model of a campus overseas".
The UK is due to leave the European Union in 2019, with continued access to funding for UK universities expected to be part of the negotiation process, which begins in March.
As Dean of Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales (ESSEC), Blanquer represents a consortium of 15 French universities collaborating on resources and looking to expand their offering to the UK's higher education institutions.
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “We have already taken steps to provide assurances 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 £2bn investment per year – and will seek agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.”
According to the universities admissions site, UCAS, EU applications to UK universities have fallen by seven per cent since June’s referendum vote, the first decrease in a decade. Applications from prospective UK students have fallen by five per cent since January 2016.
At a session of the Commons Education Committee earlier in the month, MPs were told that Cambridge had seen a 14 per cent drop in the number of applicants from the EU.
Oxford’s new “head of Brexit strategy”, Professor Alastair Buchan used another meeting of the committee to say Brexit could open up opportunities for non-EU academics to study at British universities, and universities such as Oxford and Cambridge could benefit from greater fees provided by international students.
“Oxford has been an international university throughout its history and it is determined to remain open to the world whatever the future political landscape looks like,” the university said in a statement.