Universities call to keep EU research links after Brexit

Tuesday 04th February 2020 14:49 EST

According to the BBC university leaders in the UK and Europe have signed a joint statement calling for UK universities to remain part of European research schemes after Brexit.

Before UK left the European Union, 36 higher education groups have called for a "swift agreement" to allow UK universities to rejoin EU research networks and Erasmus student exchanges. The country could pay to join these schemes as associate members.

The CBI business group backed the statement, as did Universities UK. The statement, issued by representatives of university, research and science groups across Europe, says it would be of "clear mutual benefit" for UK universities to have "full association" with European research projects.

In response, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said it is "open to collaborating" in EU programmes, "if it's in the UK's interests".

Universities in the UK have been leading partners - and among the biggest financial beneficiaries - of research funded on a European basis, including major science projects.

The next research round, Horizon Europe, will be worth about €100bn (£84bn) - but so far there have been no terms agreed on which UK universities can participate. Countries outside the EU can take part, but the cost and terms of membership have still to be negotiated.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore commented that in the current round of EU research, UK institutions have taken about £5bn of the funding pot. The representatives want a deal to be reached by the end of the year on UK participation in research projects. They also want an agreement to allow the Erasmus student exchanges to continue.

The statement, from university leaders , from both UK and EU says it would be "good for all of us" if UK universities were able to "continue to work together" with their European counterparts.

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