A University of Exeter researcher has been appointed to be part of a group of leading academics who will provide expert analysis ahead of the forthcoming EU referendum.
Dr Alison Harcourt will provide evidence on issues ahead of the vote which will decide if the country remains in the European Union.
Dr Harcourt, from the department of politics, has been appointed as a senior research fellow to the Economic and Social Research Council’s The UK in a Changing Europe project.
The fellows will examine foreign and security policy, banking and financial services, social policies and the impact of EU law.
Dr Harcourt will examine the impact of a proposed UK Brexit from the EU on the communication industries, looking at what will happen to the cross-EU border agreements for communications services which currently exist. For example, the UK regulatory body, OFCOM, licenses 1,577 television channels for channels broadcasting across Europe.
She will also research the impact of a UK Brexit on data protection and third-party sharing of information, used by internet companies to target consumers.
Dr Harcourt said: “Even if the UK leaves the EU it would still have to abide by EU regulations if it wants to remain part of the single market for trading. But what would happen if the UK does not get a say on revisions of future regulation?
“My job is to discover how the communications industry might react to potential policy changes by providing evidence-based scenarios. The research is aimed at improving public discourse on Brexit.”
One in 12 people in the UK work in the communications industry, and the UK is a major provider of services for the EU market.
Dr Harcourt is among a team who will join nine senior fellows already part of the project. They will work with the director, Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at Kings College London.
Professor Menon said: “Since its launch, The UK in a Changing Europe initiative has established itself as the leading source of impartial analysis on the UK’s relationship with the EU. The appointment of seven more leading scholars will allow us to build on our reputation and to contribute to, and help inform, the debate on British membership in the run-up to the referendum.”
Professor Jane Elliott, ESRC chief executive, said: “Through funding academics of the highest calibre, The UK in a Changing Europe initiative has established a reputation as a valuable source of research-based knowledge on the UK-EU relationship. We are delighted to be continuing our commitment to the project ahead of the referendum.”
(from a press release)
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