Research: Law degrees are more reliant on EU funding than languages degrees

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By Katie King on

University law faculties receive millions of pounds a year from Europe — will Brexit change this?

Research has shown law is more reliant on EU funding than most other university courses, modern languages included.

A new report by Technopolis Group says that law is one of the 15 subjects most reliant on EU money for its research income, i.e. it’s one of 15 subjects whose income from EU government bodies represents 20% or more of its total research income. While it’s still up in the air what will happen to university funding post-Brexit, the report notes that these 15 disciplines “may be amongst the most at risk from any change in the terms of access to EU funds going forward.”

In 2014/15, financial support from EU government bodies made up 26% of the total figure for law research grants and contracts. In money terms, that’s £5,290,000 out of £20,250,000.

Media studies (27%), IT (30%) and classics (33%) courses all derive a higher percentage of funding from Europe. Archaeology tops the list at 38%.

Table via Technopolis Group

Rounding off the top 15 are ten subjects whose research grants and contracts are less reliant on EU money than law. These are: philosophy (25%), modern languages (24%), anthropology (23%), business studies (23%), chemistry (23%), area studies (23%), politics (21%), architecture (21%), art and design (20%), and sociology (20%).

However it’s also worth noting the report — commissioned by the British Academy, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society — also includes a table showing the academic disciplines that received the most income from the EU in pounds, not percentages. Law is not on it.

Interestingly, only three of the subjects that feature on the percentage table also feature on the pounds table. These are IT, business studies and chemistry. Clinical medicine came out on top, receiving just shy of £120,000,000 from the EU in 2014/15.

The report also reveals which universities obtain the most funding from the EU. While Goldsmiths College derives the highest percentage of its income from European government bodies than any other university (61%), the University of Oxford wins overall in real money terms (£60,300,000; 8%).

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