Staff news

Brexit update October 2018

Professor Charlie Jeffery, Professor of Politics and Senior Vice-Principal at the University of Edinburgh, offers his perspective on recent Brexit developments.

Following a busy first few weeks of the new semester for students and staff alike, I look forward to a productive and enjoyable academic year. This is a pivotal year which will see the United Kingdom formally leave the EU in March 2019. As such, it’s the right time to update you on the latest news around Brexit that will affect us all.

But first, it’s important that I emphasise the University’s ongoing commitment to international diversity and a community in which staff and students continue to feel valued and welcome. We all benefit from international relationships, so this is something that we will continue to celebrate and nurture over the coming years.

EU Settlement Scheme

In a very positive development, the UK Government has confirmed that the EU Settlement Scheme will be fully open by 31st March 2019, with an online application process that is meant to be simple and quick. If you are an EU citizen (or a direct family member), you and your family will be able to apply for either settled or pre-settled status, with a deadline for applications of 30th June 2021.

The Scheme is presently being piloted and the UK Government has recently announced a second pilot that is open to staff working at the University of Edinburgh. Eligible staff will be able to apply between Thursday 15 November and Friday 21 December 2018, and next month we will be contacting those of you who are eligible with more information.

I am pleased to let you know that, to support our international staff as much as possible in this unsettling period, the University has agreed to cover the costs of these applications.

Separate to the Scheme, we will also be investigating how best to support our non-EEA staff, and will be contacting these members of staff shortly with further information.  

The University and Europe

We continue to actively engage with Brexit developments through our membership of key European networks and the Russell Group. Through this representation we continue to push for full association to the Horizon 2020 successor programme, Horizon Europe and the new Erasmus Programme 2021-27.

We seek to build on strong bilateral relations with a number of Europe’s leading universities and throughout the autumn Professor Jonathan Seckl, Vice Principal (Planning, Resources & Research Policy), and Professor James Smith, Vice Principal International, will welcome delegations to Edinburgh for further discussion. Visits will consider the potential for increased research collaboration in areas of mutual strength and the mechanisms by which we can work more closely together.

Our commitment to European engagement was noted earlier this month when we marked the 50th anniversary of the Europa Institute, which was celebrated at an anniversary lecture in the Playfair Library on 2nd October delivered by the Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP First Minister of Scotland.

I am delighted to report on the Institute’s recent success, that Dr Chad Damro has been awarded a three-year tenure of the new FUTURES Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence. He will serve as the new Centre's Academic Coordinator, with Dr Elke Heins and Dr Tobias Lock serving as Co-Coordinators. The Centre will help to shape and strengthen research and will inform practitioners and the public at the local, national and international levels about future developments and needs in EU Politics, Law and Policy.

At the start of September, a senior team welcomed the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU (UKREP), Katrina Williams to the University to hear more about the challenges Brexit will pose for the University and our institutional aspirations for the future.

We have an eventful year ahead of us but as we look to the future, we encourage colleagues to keep the dialogue open with our European partners. Funding is now available for academic and professional services staff to spend a week teaching or undertaking training and career development activities at one of our Erasmus+ partner institutions. I would encourage you all to apply for this invaluable Go Abroad opportunity.

We have guaranteed funding equivalent to the amount currently received for those students who will undertake a mandatory placement in Europe after 2020, demonstrating our commitment to the student experience and the importance of mobility across borders.

As ever, we will continue to press for further clarification around issues affecting our staff and students, and I will keep you up to date through direct emails. Our website will be updated and you can sign up to receive regular Europe alerts from the Edinburgh Global team.


Professor Charlie Jeffery

Senior Vice-Principal