Universities in the UK and France have signed a joint declaration aimed at enhancing internationalisation and research partnerships in the wake of Britain’s European Union referendum.
The declaration was signed by Universities UK, on behalf of the British higher education sector, and the French University Presidents’ Conference (CPU), on behalf of France’s universities, as the UK and European Union began Brexit negotiations.
The alliances pledged to encourage their members to increase levels of student and staff mobility, develop more joint degrees and advance research and innovation partnerships between UK and French universities.
Gilles Roussel, president of the CPU, said it was “very important” for French universities to “show solidarity with the universities in the UK”, prove that “science has no frontier” and demonstrate that “we want to continue our collaborations after Brexit”.
Janet Beer, vice-president of Universities UK, added that French universities are “vital partners for their British counterparts in every part of the academy”.
“More than 4,000 UK students spent time studying, working or volunteering in France in 2014/15 and the UK is French students’ number one destination. At the same time, there are about 200 joint degrees between the two countries,” she said.
“France is one of our top European research partner countries in terms of the number of research collaborations, including fields such as space, cell therapies or energy storage,” she added.