The steady refrain that came from the Government's No Deal on Brexit papers was "we fully expect to agree a deal". But the papers very existence shows that some real thought has gone into the effects of a sharp break with the EU in March 2019 and what it will mean for universities. 

While the Government can say it is making preparations and there shouldn't be a cliff edge to tumble over thanks to the Treasury's largesse, in reality they are just moving the cliff edge back a little to align with the new EU budgetary framework and end of the Transition Period (if it happens).

After 2020...?

The Government intends to strike ‘Accords’ with the EU around 4 areas, including science and research. Will these be part of the Withdrawal Agreement and/or the future settlement, or do they have a life of their own? It's not clear from the Papers themselves but let's hope they have some degree of independent momentum.

Although the Papers imply that the UK will be able to have Third Country participant status after Brexit on Horizon 2020 (or its successors) the UK's pre-eminence in research may mean some careful juggling of responsibilities among collaborations if they are to be successful in qualifying for future funding from the EU.

The Brexit Papers are starting to bring into sharp relief the future nature of HE collaboration.