Brexit will ‘impoverish’ universities, say v-cs

It is ‘crystal clear’ that UK higher education is stronger thanks to European Union membership, says a letter signed by 103 university leaders on eve of referendum

June 22, 2016
european union boris johnson debate june 23
Source: iStock

More than 100 UK vice-chancellors have signed a new open letter to warn about the impact of leaving the European Union.

In a last-ditch intervention before the 23 June referendum, some 103 university leaders state that “voluntarily cutting ourselves out of the world’s largest economic bloc would undermine our position as a global leader in science and innovation, impoverish our campuses and limit opportunities for British people”.

“Leaving Europe would create a difficult environment for the long-term investment in higher education and research that is necessary for the UK to maintain its position as a highly skilled and a globally competitive knowledge economy,” says the letter, published on 21 June.

“For us it is crystal clear that our outstanding universities – and our students – are stronger in Europe,” it adds.

Among those to sign the letter include Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor, University of Oxford and Universities UK president Dame Julia Goodfellow, vice-chancellor of the University of Kent.

The letter argues that the impact of the country’s higher education sector, worth an estimated £73 billion for the UK economy and supporting nearly 380,000 jobs, “should not be underestimated”, but universities would find it harder to operate in the event of a Brexit.

Our membership of the EU ….. makes our outstanding universities even stronger,” it says.

“Inside the EU, we are better able to work collaboratively on ground-breaking research in areas from cancer to climate change. EU membership supports British universities to attract the brightest and best minds from across Europe, enhancing university research and teaching and contributing to economic growth,” it says.



1.    Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor, University of Kent 

2.    Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor, University of Liverpool

3.    Professor Julie Lydon, Vice-Chancellor, University of South Wales 

4.    Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University

5.    Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Dundee

6.    Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow

7.    Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor, University of Birmingham

8.    Professor Simon Gaskell, President and Principal, Queen Mary University of London 

9.    Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading 

10.    Professor Sir Ian Diamond Vice-Chancellor University of Aberdeen

11.    Professor Paul O’Prey, Vice-Chancellor, University of Roehampton

12.    Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor, Brunel University London

13.    Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of Exeter

14.    Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor, President and Chief Executive Office, University of the West of England

15.    Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice- Chancellor, The University of Nottingham 

16.    Nigel Carrington, Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London

17.    Professor David Phoenix OBE, Vice-Chancellor, London South Bank University 

18.    Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton

19.    Professor Helen Marshall, Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford

20.    Dr Paul Thompson, Rector, Royal College of Art

21.    John Latham, Vice-Chancellor, Coventry University

22.    Professor Aldwyn Cooper, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Regent’s University London 

23.    Professor Baron Peter Piot, Director, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 

24.    Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Edinburgh Napier University 

25.    Professor Barry Ife, Principal, Guildhall School of Music and Drama 

26.    Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University 

27.    Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor, Manchester Metropolitan University

28.    Professor David Maguire, Vice-Chancellor, University of Greenwich

29.    Professor Sir Paul Curran, Vice-Chancellor, City University London

30.    Professor Karen Stanton, Vice-Chancellor, York St John University 

31.    Professor Robert Allison, Vice-Chancellor and President, Loughborough University

32.    Professor Anthony Bowne, Principal, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance 

33.    Professor Iain Martin, Vice-Chancellor, Anglia Ruskin University 

34.    Professor Bob Cryan CBE, Vice-Chancellor, University of Huddersfield

35.    Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University 

36.    Professor Patrick Johnston, Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast

37.    Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor, Aberystwyth University

38.    Bill Rammell, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Bedfordshire 

39.    Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor, Nottingham Trent University

40.    Stephen Marston, Vice-Chancellor, University of Gloucestershire

41.    Professor Edward Byrne, President and Principal, King’s College London

42.    Professor John Joughin, Vice-Chancellor, University of East London

43.    Professor Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds

44.    Baroness Valerie Amos CH, Director, Soas, University of London

45.    Professor Gavin Henderson CBE,  Principal, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

46.    Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Northumbria University 

47.    Patrick Loughrey, Warden, Goldsmiths, University of London

48.    Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Strathclyde

49.    Dr Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor, Glyndwr University 

50.    Professor Mary Stuart, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lincoln

51.    Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford 

52.    Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, Middlesex University

53.    Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester

54.    Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor, University of Buckingham

55.    Professor Peter John, Vice-Chancellor, University of West London

56.    Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Derby 

57.    Professor Peter Strike, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cumbria

58.    Professor Trevor McMillan, Vice-Chancellor, Keele University 

59.    Professor Richard A Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University

60.    Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge 

61.    Professor Stuart Reid, Principal, Royal Veterinary College University of London

62.    Professor Julius Weinberg, Vice-Chancellor, Kingston University London

63.    Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor, Durham University

64.    Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal, The University of Edinburgh

65.    Professor Paul Croney, Vice-Chancellor, Teesside University

66.    Professor Nick Petford, Vice-Chancellor, The University of Northampton

67.    Professor Mark Smith, Vice-Chancellor, Lancaster University

68.    Professor Michael Farthing, Vice-Chancellor, University of Sussex 

69.    Professor Richard B. Davies, Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University 

70.    Professor Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University 

71.    Professor Jenny Higham, Principal, St George’s, University of London

72.    Professor Geoffrey Petts,  Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Westminster 

73.    Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor, Southampton Solent University

74.    Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost, University College London

75.    Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor, University of Wolverhampton

76.    Professor John Hughes, Vice-Chancellor, Bangor University

77.    Professor Petra Wend, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Queen Margaret University Edinburgh

78.    Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Bristol 

79.    Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Vice-Chancellor, Aston University 

80.    Professor Michael Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, University of Central Lancashire 

81.    Professor David Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of East Anglia

82.    Professor Paul Layzell, Vice-Chancellor, Royal Holloway, University of London 

83.    Professor Judith Petts, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Plymouth University

84.    Professor Liz Barnes, Vice Chancellor, Staffordshire University

85.    Professor Calie Pistorius, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hull

86.    Professor Craig Calhoun, Vice-Chancellor, London School of Economics and Political Science

87.    Professor David Green, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive,  University of Worcester 

88.    Professor Nigel Weatherill,  Vice-Chancellor, Liverpool John Moores University

89.    Professor John Raftery, Vice-Chancellor, London Metropolitan University

90.    Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Liverpool Hope University

91.    Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor University of Stirling

92.    Professor Christina Slade , Bath Spa University

93.    Professor Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor and President, University of Sheffield 

94.    Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of the West of Scotland 

95.    Professor Sir Andrew Likierman, Dean, London Business School

96.    Shirley Atkinson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, University of Sunderland 

97.    Professor Anthony Forster, Vice-Chancellor, University of Essex

98.    Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor, University of Brighton

99.    Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester

100.    Professor Helen Marshall, Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford

101.    Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Vice-Chancellor, University of London

102.    Professsor G.Q Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Surrey

103.    Professor Alice Gast, President, Imperial College London

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