Referendum polls open tomorrowLouis Ashworth

Leaving the European Union could cost Cambridge University in excess of £100 million a year, according to a leading professor of security engineering.

Writing to Cambridge News ahead of Thursday’s crucial vote, Professor Ross Anderson claims that about 10 per cent of the University’s turnover would be threatened by Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

Professor Anderson highlighted particularly the loss of direct research funding from the EU, which has crept up slowly from 7 per cent in 2008 to about double that in the University Reporter’s most recent budget report. Funding from foreign companies would also be set to decrease, as Cambridge would be a less attractive place to fund research outside of the EU, Anderson’s letter continues.

Anderson’s analysis further suggests that international students would be hit disproportionately hard by a post-Brexit drive to reduce net migration, and would also face tuition fees of £17,000 a year, almost double the current rate for EU students.

Brexit would also be damaging to the university’s ability to hire “the best and brightest from round [sic] the world”, particularly in the Computer Laboratory where Professor Anderson works.

The overall impact of Brexit would therefore be a loss of “£60m of EU money, £20m from fees, £10m from English teaching, and £5m each from industry and charities”. Professor Anderson alleges that a financial shortfall of this magnitude would be three times as damaging to the university as the 2008 financial crisis.

Anderson criticised a “campaign of xenophobia” from LeaveMarkus Kuhn

The issues are not, however, purely economic, in Professor Anderson’s opinion. In particular, he hits out at the “campaign of xenophobia” from the Leave campaign, which he says means that “even if Remain wins on Thursday, we’ve all been damaged”.

In backing a Remain vote, Professor Anderson joins Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz, who on Tuesday signed a letter of 96 university vice-chancellors warning of a threat to universities if Britain votes to leave the EU.

Thursday’s vote seems poised on a knife-edge, with the YouGov Tracker Poll suggesting a virtual dead heat between Remain and Leave supporters.

Varsity has contacted Anderson for comment.