The University and Europe: an update
Helen McMillan, Regional Director for Europe, on seeking the best outcome post Brexit and how the University will always remain a place of welcome, of excellence and of opportunity.
The next academic year is a momentous one. In September the University will welcome a new cohort of students who will commence their studies while the United Kingdom remains in the European Union and who will graduate once the UK has left.
The University has always been international in its outlook and thrives on its international staff and student populations, the success of its international research collaborations and the many opportunities it offers for international work and study. The result of the EU Referendum vote was unexpected.
Invaluable European students, staff and partners
As the sector tried to understand the possible impact of Brexit in the aftermath of the vote, the University was quick to react. We took action to reassure our students, staff and European research and exchange partners of their significance and the invaluable contribution that they make to the University.
Recognising the uncertainty for many, we held town hall sessions for staff and offered support through immigration experts. We issued communications to current students. Senior-level delegations visited a number of European institutions to deepen and develop existing bilateral partnerships and throughout the message was clear – the University would keep engaging, keep collaborating with its European colleagues, keep applying for EU research funding and keep exchanging students which it did and with great success.
Since June 2016 we increased our applications for collaborative research funding through the EU programme Horizon 2020 and won 82 awards with partners from across the EU. We continue to see our EU student intake grow across all levels and in May 2018 the University had confirmation of its largest ever Erasmus+ budget to support student and staff mobility across Europe.
Seeking the best possible outcome
The work is not yet done. As we wait to see what impact Brexit will likely have on the status and mobility of our current and future EU staff, the UK’s future participation on EU funded programmes and the impact on student fees for our EU students, we continue to lobby nationally for the best possible outcome through Russell Group and our membership of key European networks.
We don’t yet know the detail of the deal that will be reached but we do know that Brexit will not lessen the ambitions of the University of Edinburgh. We want to maintain our world-class reputation, we want to continue to attract the brightest and best students and staff and we want to strengthen our global connections both in Europe and beyond, and for this we ask for your support.
Regardless of where you are from and where you are now, alumni like you can help to ensure the University’s voice is heard as it makes clear its strong commitment to continued European engagement.
Share your experience with others, tell your Edinburgh story, promote the positive and encourage others to find out more. Spread the word that the University of Edinburgh will always be a place of welcome, of excellence and of opportunity whatever the nature of the UK’s future relationship with the EU.