International university research following EU referendum: joint statement

Scottish Government and Universities Scotland address the status of international university research.

Scotland's university research is widely recognised as among the best in the world. We have five universities in the Top 200 of the world and over three-quarters of our university research is described as world-leading or internationally excellent. Our research excellence is underpinned by extensive European and international collaborations. Scotland is an active and valued partner in a large number of EU research collaborations and has secured significant funding from EU research programmes as a result.

Following the EU referendum, Scotland continues to be eligible to participate in EU funding programmes. As the EU Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas himself confirmed, "until the end of the negotiations, the UK remains a member of the EU and therefore with all the rights and obligations, including in relation to research programmes like Horizon 2020". We welcome this commitment.

Scottish universities will build on their existing relationships to continue to collaborate with a wide range of European and international partners. The Scottish Government and Universities Scotland will work together to ensure Scotland's universities maintain their strong relationship with partners in the EU and have opportunities to collaborate to drive up the quality and impact of their research.

Almost a quarter of researchers in our universities in Scotland are from other EU countries. Both the Scottish Government and Universities Scotland have made clear that EU nationals, including researchers, continue to be welcome at our universities following the referendum. The contribution of EU researchers to our excellent research, as well as to our economy, society and culture, is valued. Researchers in Scotland also continue to benefit from freedom of movement across the EU, enabling them to collaborate or to carry out research in the rest of Europe.

The UK Government has stated that 'there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK' and we are seeking immediate reassurance that the immigration status and rights of EU nationals currently living in Scotland will not change in future. We believe that the outcome of the EU referendum makes it even more important that the UK Government supports the reintroduction of a post-study work visa in Scotland to enable our universities to continue to attract and retain talent from across the world.

The Scottish Government's overriding objective is to protect and maintain Scotland's existing relationship with the European Union. The Scottish Government and Universities Scotland share the objective of enabling Scotland to continue to play a full role in European research programmes. Both organisations will work together using our collective influence in Brussels and elsewhere to ensure that it is well understood that universities in Scotland remain committed to collaborating with our European partners and to attracting the best international talent.

Scottish Government
Universities Scotland

21 July 2016


Email: – Central Enquiry Unit

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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