The Royal Irish Academy/Acadamh Ríoga na hÉireann champions research. We identify and recognise Ireland’s world class researchers. We support scholarship and promote awareness of how science and the humanities enrich our lives and benefit society. We believe that good research needs to be promoted, sustained and communicated. The Academy is run by a Council of its members. Membership is by election and considered the highest academic honour in Ireland.

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RIA Endorses Joint Statement on UK Government Student Controls

14 June 2020


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The Academy has joined with the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Learned Society of Wales to issue a joint statement in response to the recently announced UK government student controls.

In partnership with the Learned Society of Wales and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, RIA has agreed to endorse the below statement in response to the UK Government’s announcement to place controls on the number of students who can be recruited by universities in academic session 2020/21. While having been introduced by the UK Department for Education, the student number controls will also apply to England-domiciled students studying at institutions in the devolved administrations.


As the national scholarly academies for Scotland, Wales and the island of Ireland we are concerned with the UK Government’s recent announcement on controlled numbers for English domiciled students.

We appreciate the UK Government’s wish to ensure stability within English HEIs. However, the announcement by the Department for Education in England effectively puts controls on institutions based in the devolved nations, rather than work​ing with the devolved governments to find an appropriate four-nation solution for student admissions. Subsequently, it has failed to address the concerns raised by governments, universities and other organisations outside England.

This demonstrates a worrying lack of consideration of devolution, and we strongly urge the Minister for Universities to engage more closely with her counterparts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to support higher education across the UK at this time.

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