The Guild of European Research Intensive Universities has called on Jo Johnson to guarantee Horizon 2020 funding for all UK scientists, even after the UK leaves the European Union (EU).
The organisation also urged the universities and science minister to guarantee Erasmus or Erasmus-equivalent funding for UK students beginning their degree programmes while the UK is still a member of the EU, and to guarantee “home fee levels” for all EU students.
In a statement released on 8 August, the guild said it is “equally important” that all EU member states guarantee existing fee levels for all UK students beginning their study while the UK is still a member of the EU.
“Over the past few weeks, evidence has been mounting that the UK’s referendum result on Brexit has begun to undermine collaborative research through a decline in joint funding applications involving UK partners,” it said.
“Meanwhile, uncertainty around future fee arrangements for EU students and student exchange arrangements are detrimental to student mobility to the UK.”
The guild, founded in June, has ten members: Aarhus University, the University of Bologna, the University of Glasgow, the University of Göttingen, the University of Groningen, theUniversity of Oslo, the University of Tübingen, the University of Warwick, Uppsala University and Jagiellonian University in Krakow.
The guild also called on governments in the EU as well as the UK to “prioritise the free flow of students, academic staff and scholarly interaction as a key objective of Brexit negotiations”. It said that the EU has succeeded in creating “highly effective cross-border funding mechanisms for collaborative research, innovation and mobility” and compromising these as a result of Brexit would cause “irreparable damage to the knowledge societies of Europe”.
“The close collaboration of Europe’s world-leading universities is indispensable for delivering groundbreaking research, the ability to translate this into innovate products where appropriate, and educating tomorrow’s innovators and leaders,” it said.
The guild said that its members will increase student mobility and the alliance will create a series of collaborative research workshops for the coming academic year and help to grow the number of collaborative funding bids over the next three years, involving the best researchers among its members.
“Now is a time for European universities to lead by example,” it added. “We call on universities, student societies, and learned societies – within the UK and beyond – to join us in enhancing the mobility of students across Europe, and increasing research collaboration wherever possible, in the face of current political uncertainties. And we call on governments, as well as the Commission, to support us in this endeavour.”