I have written to all students and staff today, as the Prime Minister invokes Article 50 which starts the formal two-year negotiation of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union.
As I have said in my earlier messages, Edinburgh is and will remain a proudly European and international University. We are always open to new ideas and are founded on an ethos of collaboration. We take great pride in, and strength from, the 157 nations that make up the student and staff body of the University of Edinburgh and that will not change.
As we now enter the formal period of negotiation, our messages to government stress the positives of an international outlook. The importance of securing the rights of EU citizens already working in the UK is paramount and long term access to EU research funding programmes remains central to the overall success of our Universities. On the latter point, the guarantees the UK Government has already given to underwrite the payments of awards won, alongside other signals, affords us some comfort that this message is getting through.
Much activity is taking place across the University as we seek to strengthen our existing relationships and to build new partnerships with our European peers.
We continue to be the number one destination in Scotland for applications from the EU and we welcome the recent announcement by Scottish Government that EU nationals enrolling in 2018-19 have been guaranteed free tuition for the duration of their entire course.
I know that for many people there will be further concern around whether staff and students, or members of their family, might be impacted by changes to residency rights. In order to support those members of staff who might be affected we are now offering loans for residency fees and a new set of targeted free legal information sessions, as well as providing further advice to our students.
I am always encouraged to see how people from across the University are working together to demonstrate their support for each other and for our message - that we remain strongly and positively European.
Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea FRSE
Principal & Vice-Chancellor
University of Edinburgh