University leaders have written to politicians and government to warn of the risks for research, staff and students if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
In an open letter to MPs, Universities UK, the Russell Group, Guild HE, Million Plus and University Alliance – which collectively represent more than 150 higher education providers across the UK – say the impact of a no deal scenario could lead to “an academic, cultural and scientific setback from which it would take decades to recover.” As a matter of urgency, they call for a guarantee that research funding from which the UK may be excluded at the end of March will be replaced.
The letter states: Our 50,000 EU staff and 130,000 EU students, not to mention the 15,000 UK students studying in Europe, are starting the new year facing significant uncertainty about their futures. Vital research links will be compromised, from new cancer treatments to technologies combatting climate change. The valuable exchange of students, staff and knowledge would be seriously damaged. And we share the concerns of business about the impact of no deal on everything from supply chains to security and travel. The government needs to demonstrate the required ambition, put the right measures and guarantees in place, and, crucially, avoid the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on 29 March.
The University is currently undertaking ‘no deal’ planning with the hope that we will never have to implement it, and is encouraging EU staff to stay with us at the University of Nottingham, paying the registration fee for all European staff and their families should they wish to apply for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Over the next few weeks and months, faculties and professional services departments will hold open meetings for EU staff to hear their concerns and answer their questions. UEB will be hosting receptions to celebrate our European staff and highlight their work.
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