Students will soon be off to university – some for the first time and others returning for a new year.
The South East has a reputation for educational excellence, with 19 universities – and it’s important to remember that this reputation could be damaged if the UK left the EU. Much of the excellent research going on in universities across the South East is funded directly by the European Research Council and the £100m provided to them each year from the EU.
Anneliese Dodds MEP said: "World leading projects such as the Joint European Torus based in Culham in Oxfordshire - the only place in the world to have ever achieved nuclear fusion - have been made possible thanks to European funding.
"Leaving the European Union jeopardises the fantastic work being done here in the South East and risks causing long term damage to our higher education structures. In a time of austerity, this money is unlikely to be replaced by our current government."
In addition to research work, 2,000 Erasmus students in the South East risk losing their opportunity to study abroad with European sister universities. Erasmus students have an unemployment rate 23% lower than students who did not study abroad.
Anneliese added: "It is unlikely that the South East's universities could find full alternative funding if we leave the EU. It is possible we could buy our way back in to some of the EU's funding streams on an ad hoc basis, but we would lose the ability to influence what was funded and how. This would mean less of a focus on the UK's areas of research strength.”