We want to support the development of UK universities’ influence on the world stage, and ensure that the UK higher education sector remains competitive by international standards.

Education is one of the UK’s strongest export industries, and the impact of UK universities can be felt throughout the world. More than 1 million overseas students are now studying for a UK higher education qualification either in the UK or in their home country, and the UK’s excellence in research is underpinned by global networks of collaborations.

We want to ensure that the UK higher education sector not only retains, but enhances, its strong international position by:

  • working with the UK government to secure a favourable domestic policy environment for universities to achieve their international objectives

  • collaborating with Universities UK International to help our universities extend their global connections and influence by providing research and analysis of international trends in transnational education, outward student mobility, engagement with scholarship programmes, and recruitment

  • researching higher education policy developments abroad to understand how best practice overseas can inform the development of higher education policy at home

Our work on internationalisation is overseen by our International Policy Network, chaired by Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter.

Free trade report front cover

Can free trade agreements enhance opportunities for UK higher education after Brexit?

25 April 2017
The inclusion of higher education and research commitments in future free trade agreements could strengthen the position of UK higher education internationally.

International research collaboration after Brexit report

International research collaboration after the UK leaves the European Union

25 April 2017
International collaboration is integral to creating world class research with impact, and it is vital that UK-based researchers have the ability, support and resources to collaborate with the best partners – wherever they may be.

Report cover

International students in UK higher education: the UK and its competition

25 September 2014
The UK higher education sector's reputation remains strong internationally, but recent immigration reforms have generated both opportunities and threats.

Report page

One size fits all? An analysis of the international student’s journey through the UK higher education system

2 June 2014
Examines the different data sources on non-EU students coming to the UK and what the data tells us about students’ destinations once they graduate.


Supporting LGBT students studying overseas

10 March 2020
Stonewall's Emma Kosmin on steps universities can take to provide support for LGBT students studying overseas.


Clock is ticking for UK to make clear that visa system changes will support international students

5 June 2020
The UK government must make clear to international students in the next few weeks that they can still have confidence in studying at UK universities, otherwise the UK risks losing them to overseas competitors.

New study highlights net impact of international students

11 January 2018
New analysis – carried out by London Economics – shows the benefits of international students are ten times greater than the costs and are worth £310 per UK resident.