Information for staff who are EU citizens and staff who work on EU-funded Horizon 2020 projects.
We value hugely the contribution made by our EU staff. While there will be no immediate impact on colleagues who are EU nationals, we recognise that this period of uncertainty will be stressful for them and their families. The University is wholly committed to supporting our EU staff and we will be working over the coming weeks and months to establish the facts and to share these with our EU staff.
The important point is that things will not change overnight; the UK government will first need to give notice that the UK wishes to leave the EU, triggering a default period of two years for discussion and negotiation over the terms of exit.
Future opportunities for EU staff to work in Scotland / the UK will depend crucially on the terms of the outcome of those negotiations and any changes to government immigration law. It is possible that a points based system (as currently exists for non–EEA citizens) will apply and it is also possible that people already living and working in the country will be treated differently than those wanting to come to the UK.
We will be working closely with other Universities across the sector to feed into government decision making affecting the rights of our existing and potential future staff.
Colleagues should continue to apply for EU H2020 proposals (including to ERC, Marie Sklodowska-Curie etc), and grant-holders should continue with their projects as normal. The UK’s status as a full participating member of the Horizon 2020 Programme has not changed as a result of the referendum. Existing projects and grants will be honoured unless or until advised otherwise. Indeed, depending on when Article 50 is formally signed, UK institutions may be able to participate in the current H2020 Programme until the very end.
Professor Jonathan Seckl, Vice-Principal Planning, Resources and Research Policy has been sending emails to all research staff.
Universities UK and the Russell Group are liaising with the UK Research Office and the European Commission. Detailed advice on prospective and currently negotiated projects will be circulated as soon as possible. In the meantime, do have a look at the blog post by Alan Kennedy (Research Office EU team):
Research Support Office blog: What Brexit means for UK research (EASE login required)
The University's participation in European partnerships that are not part of EU institutions will not be affected.
At a visit to the University of Edinburgh on 21 July 2016, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Shirley-Anne Somerville made clear that Scotland would remain an active partner in international research programmes and continue to benefit from EU and international funding based on the research excellence that exists across our Universities.
On 13 August 2016 Chancellor Philip Hammond guaranteed EU funding beyond the date the UK leaves the EU. This means that British universities will have certainty over future funding and should continue to bid for competitive EU funds, including Horizon 2020 projects, while the UK remains a member of the EU. The Russell Group has welcomed this announcement in light of the considerable uncertainty around the status of funding for projects continuing after the UK leaves the EU. LERU hopes that this will encourage UK researchers to continue to apply for Horizon 2020 funding and should help to reassure European partners that the inclusion of UK academics in Horizon 2020 projects is not a risk.
The University’s Court has established a sub-group to have oversight of the University’s strategic response to the EU referendum. This group comprises a number of members of Court and senior University managers including the Principal, Senior Vice-Principal and the University Secretary.
The University is also working closely with key sector bodies such as the Russell Group, Universities UK and Universities Scotland who will be leading discussions on a number of areas with the UK and Scottish governments.
The University is providing additional support for staff from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland (and any other member of staff with an EEA or Swiss partner and/or dependants), over the coming months:
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Cabinet held a public question and answer session to meet EU nationals living, working and studying in Scotland. The streamed event from 17 August 2016 can be viewed on YouTube.
A fact sheet is now available which we will continue to update on the basis of questions raised in the webinars and the individual consultation sessions.
A series of open meetings have been held where staff have had the chance to hear from senior management about how the University will be responding to the referendum decision.
Download the staff presentations given by Senior Vice-Principal, Professor Charlie Jeffery, and University Secretary, Sarah Smith, in July and September/October 2016.
Staff presentations (secured) (EASE login required)