EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier outlined his view on the approaching negotiations with the UK in a speech in Brussels on 22 March.
Barnier explicitly stated that the EU was ambitious regarding a post-Brexit relationship with the UK in the areas of research and innovation, even if this happens in a new legal and financial framework.
“Our community of values and interests with the United Kingdom goes beyond trade,” Barnier said. “We are ambitious in our research and innovation networks, our laboratories and universities, even if the regulatory and financial framework of our current cooperation will obviously change in the future.”
This statement corresponds to similar declarations made by Theresa May in her Lancaster House speech, in which she gave research and innovation collaboration high priority. She said “(…) we will also welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives.”
Universities in the UK and the rest of the EU support the ambition of a continued close relationship in both research and higher education and warmly welcome Barnier’s explicit commitment. As EUA and UUK have stated on earlier occasions, association agreements for the Framework Programme for research and for Erasmus+ are already used for third countries and are a quick, simple, win-win solution.
The two Associations call on negotiators on both sides to approach research and higher education in a pragmatic and flexible manner, aiming to fulfil the common ambition of continued close collaboration.
For a better understanding of the potential impact of Brexit on the university sector, please see:
“EUA Brexit Factsheet: UK – European Research Collaboration and Student Mobility”
“After the Brexit referendum - Possible outcomes for Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+”