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UK university leaders and scientists mobilise against Brexit

17 March 2016

Ahead of the referendum on UK membership in the EU planned for 23 June 2016, university leaders and many scientists in the UK are mobilising against the so-called Brexit.

In a recent open letter more than 150 eminent scientists, such as the well-known theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, argue that leaving the EU could be “a disaster for science”. They explain that the EU has boosted UK science in two crucial ways, first through the funding programmes where the UK has a competitive edge and second through the free movement of labour that facilitates the recruitment of talented researchers from across Europe who might go to UK institutions with an EU grant. The full letter can be found here

Since the summer of 2015, Universities UK has run a campaign under the motto “Universities for Europe”. The aim is to show the value of the EU for research and education in the UK and to foster a public debate with all sides. For this purpose universities are hosting a series of events and panel discussions with participants who are against or in favour of Britain leaving the EU. They are also engaging with other European partners outside the UK and discussing the potential impact of a Brexit on European Higher Education. For instance, one event will take place at the University of London Institute in Paris on 15 April 2016. More information can be found on the campaign website.

EUA strongly supports Universities UK in its campaign. “Universities are essential in shaping our future. There is no great future for either a Europe without the UK or a UK outside Europe,” argues EUA President Rolf Tarrach. “They would have no chance of competing successfully in our quickly developing world. A united European knowledge society would be a major source of wisdom and savoir faire for the whole planet; a split Europe would cut a pathetic figure.”

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
1040 Brussels
Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

Geneva office:
114, Rue du Rhône
Case postale 3174
1211 Geneva 3
Tel: +41 22 552 02 96