Universities UK to ramp up EU campaign

Blog post follows election result and confirmation of referendum on membership

May 8, 2015

University leaders say they will ramp up their campaign to keep the UK in the European Union after re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed plans to hold an in-out referendum by 2017.

With the dust barely having settled from a general election that handed a surprise majority to the Conservatives, who had committed in their manifesto to holding the poll, Universities UK says it will be saying “a great deal more” in coming “weeks and months” about “why EU membership is so important and has a positive impact on the British people, our society, our economy and our universities”.

Alistair Jarvis, director of communications and external relations at Universities UK, and Vivienne Stern, director of the UK HE International Unit, write in a blog post that the UK is “exceptionally lucky” to be part of the EU.

Europe “makes it easy” to collaborate on research, with continental universities remaining the most frequent partners for their UK counterparts, and it also allows thousands of students to take part in exchanges, the pair write.

“The British people, economy and society benefit from the UK being a member of the biggest bloc of knowledge in the world,” the post says. “Research, knowledge, innovation and technology are the factors that will decide future economic growth and human progress. EU membership creates British jobs, enables life-changing discoveries and inventions and strengthens the UK’s standing in the world.”

The post concludes by stating Universities UK believes it will have “many allies” in its campaign, including, the organisation suspects, “our newly re-elected Prime Minister”.

The intervention comes just weeks after vice-chancellors travelled to Brussels to lobby against cuts in research funding.

On that trip, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, told Times Higher Education that exiting the EU altogether would see universities lose hundreds of millions of pounds a year in research funding.

Meanwhile, Mr Cameron has confirmed that Theresa May will continue to serve as home secretary in his first Conservative-only Cabinet.

Ms May has repeatedly crossed swords with the university sector over the counter-terrorism and security bill, which many academics fear will suppress freedom of speech on campuses, and over immigration restrictions placed on overseas students.


You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Reader's comments (2)

People have spoken and democratically elected a government and it has the mandate. Just move on.
Or, change the system so the popular vote is actually reflected in the result? Simon needs to do some reading.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham