Aiming to study the impact of Brexit, Birmingham City University has launched a Brexit Studies Centre (CBS). This is a first of it’s kind British Centre. CBS will promote an understanding of both Leave and Remain standpoints, while providing collaborative opportunities with businesses, professional organisations and civil society.
The centre, which will be open to the general public, will focus on those sectors “expected to be impacted by Brexit” including national and international issues, cultural identity, hate crime and radicalisation, business, communities, climate change and national security.
Alex de Ruyter, a research director at Birmingham City University’s business school said: “With the vote of the UK to leave the EU, it is now crucial to gain an understanding of the complexities that Brexit entails for individuals, communities, business and government, whilst clearing up misconceptions around its impact.”
The research will primarily be undertaken by the university’s faculty and students, although the public will have access to some of the research and conferences.
Although other universities across the world have already published research reports on Brexit and its potential impacts, this will be Britain’s first organisation for such a study. Neither the size of the centre, nor the names and nationalities of the faculty and students, remain clear at this point.
According to Professor Julian Beer, deputy vice-chancellor of the university, no other region in England has yet come up with such a plan — one that features a triple contribution from local government, industry and academia.
The news of the first UK Brexit university centre comes after a panel of university Vice-Chancellors warned the Education Select Committee that a “hard Brexit”, or a UK decision to quit the single market, could be “the biggest disaster for the universities sector in many years”.
Catherine Barnard, an EU law professor at the University of Cambridge, said applications for undergraduate places from EU students had already fallen by 14%.
Alex de Ruyter, director at BCU’s business school, said the centre would focus in particular at the impact of the vote on Birmingham and the surrounding area. The city voted narrowly in favour of Leave in the referendum, with 22 of its 40 council wards voting for Brexit.
The university will mark CBS’ official launch with a free conference in Birmingham’s Hotel La Tour on 26 January. It aims to kick off their set of conferences with one that will explore “Brexit’s challenges for business and society”. The university will publish a report on how to make a success out of the UK’s decision to quit the 28 member bloc.
Speakers at the launch opening will include Jon Yorke, Professor of Human Rights at Birmingham City University and Alison Young, Professor of Public Law at the University of Oxford — a recent BBC commentator on the Article 50 court case to decide whether government or parliament has the authority to trigger the UK’s exit process.[Sources: Birmingham mail)