The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has invoked article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which starts the legal process of leaving the European Union. The United Kingdom gives notice to quit the European Union as decided in the referendum of June 23rd 2016.
This is the starting point of a process in which the European Union will attempt to negotiate and conclude an agreement with the United Kingdom, setting out the arrangements for the withdrawal and taking account of the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Professor Anthony Foster, Vice-Chancellor from University of Essex stated: “We really appreciate the support of our partner institutions in YERUN, which shows their commitment to the continuing importance of links between UK and European universities after the UK leaves the EU. Our values at the University of Essex will remain unchanged following the UK Government’s decision to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon- inclusivity and internationalism will remain at the heart of all that we do”.
Professor Andrew George, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Brunel University London said “our institution values its links with universities from the European Union, which are very important for our research and education. We are pleased that the leaders of YERUN universities are committed to carrying on working with us after Brexit, so that we all continue to benefit from cooperation and collaboration across national boundaries”.
Ahead of the start of the negotiations between the UK government and the EU Institutions, YERUN, the Network of Young European Research Universities, extends its deepest support to our colleague universities in the UK that have been subject to the uncertainties caused by the results of the UK Referendum vote held on 23 June 2016.
Established to promote research and education links between European universities, YERUN stresses that the network will strive to maintain and grow our existing strong links between universities and partners in the UK and European countries. It is through collaboration that our institutions perform world-class research for the benefit of society. The high impact resulting from these collaborations could never be achieved in isolation.
A second fundamental pillar for collaboration among YERUN members is mobility. Mobility within and outside Europe, to the UK and outside the UK. Mobility brings new perspectives to both our academic and professional staff, and to students; it spreads talent and ideas, and contributes to the co-creation of knowledge with the capacity to respond to the needs of the inter and multicultural society we live in. Collaboration and mobility help drive up wealth, health and cultural capital globally, nationally and locally.
It is important that we encourage inclusivity in our societies and that we preserve the spirit of European unity, recognising and promoting collaboration beyond geographical boundaries and celebrating the benefits to our national and local communities of being globally connected. Representing young universities in Europe, and built upon the foundations of social and economic growth and responsibility to our societies, YERUN will redouble its efforts to ensure that young universities act as a driver for social inclusion and mobility.
YERUN asks that the UK Government and the European Institutions include measures to protect Anglo-European University collaboration when negotiating the conditions of UK exit from the European Union for the ultimate benefit of all our people, society and industries. Further involvement in European research programmes is expected to ensure cross-employability and exchange between the U.K. and the EU. Support for truly excellent research should guarantee collaboration, mobility, and employment without prohibitive visa regulations.
YERUN calls on the UK government representatives and the European Union to prioritise in their negotiation talks the ultimate goal of maintaining and even reinforcing the beneficial collaboration between UK and European partners, and ensuring decisions that allow the full participation of UK partners, and to ensure decisions that lead to conditions negotiated on the basis of reciprocity to allow the continued participation of UK partners in EU funding programmes. Members of YERUN will continue to work with our partner universities inside and outside the EU.
This statement was unanimously adopted by all YERUN members at the General Assembly held on 17th March in Madrid (2017).