The Russell Group of leading research universities have today (Friday) released data showing a slump in EU student recruitment, while Universities UK have warned that, even under the Government’s Brexit deal, millions of pounds of research funding could be lost.
Commenting, Ian Murray MP, who represents thousands of students and university staff from Edinburgh and Napier universities in the Scottish capital, and who is a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“Britain’s universities have a world-leading role because of the quality of their research. They are the UK’s second biggest export sector and bring billions into our economy. Any sort of Brexit puts that at risk.
“Today the Russell Group are warning of a 9% fall in EU research students while Universities UK are demanding to know what the Government plans to do to replace money we’d lose under the Government’s deal from the European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funding schemes.
“And we still have no clarity on how our universities will be able to recruit the very best academic and other staff from across the EU.
“Nobody voted two years ago to be poorer or to damage our universities. Brexit campaigners promised we would continue to enjoy ‘the exact same benefits’ of being in the EU, while ‘taking back control’.
“But after two years of negotiation we are being left with a £50 billion divorce bill and a weakened economy.
“The same problems will apply to any form of Brexit, no matter how it is presented. That’s why the final decision should now be handed back to the people in a People’s Vote - because only they can sort this out.”
Notes to editors:
- The Russell Group data on student recruitment is here: https://russellgroup.ac.uk/news/fall-in-eu-student-numbers/
- Universities UK warn today: “we are also seeking confirmation that the government will replace research funding sources from which we may be excluded at the end of March. In particular, we await explicit assurance that if the UK is unable to participate in the European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funding schemes, which support world-leading breakthroughs, that domestic alternatives will be created with the same level of funding.”(https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/news/Documents/no-deal-brexit-open-letter-jan-19.pdf)