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EU and UK research and higher education organisations plan a strong future relationship post Brexit

On the day that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, higher education and research organisations from across the UK and Europe have reaffirmed their commitment to working together, and are calling on our respective governments to make this a priority as discussions about the future relationship get underway. 

Alongside Universities UK, a total of 36 major domestic and international organisations, which includes the European University Association (EUA), 24 National University representative bodies, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and many other bodies across Europe, have committed to maintaining their current relationships. These groups are asking governments and the European Commission to ensure a swift agreement on the UK’s full association to Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe before the end of 2020. 

The statement reads: 
“We, the major bodies representing, and partnering with, science and higher education across the UK and Europe, are united in agreeing that we wish to continue to work together following the departure of the UK from the European Union. We call on our national governments and the European Commission to act on the commitments of the political declaration and work swiftly to agree a basis for continued collaboration through the UK’s full association to Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. Swift agreement in this area of clear mutual benefit would be good for all of us and should be reached before the end of 2020, allowing for the development of innovative and stronger collaborations over the decades to come.” 

The UK and EU now enter a transition period that will last until 31 December 2020. During this transition period the UK will remain a full member of Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. UK and European institutions are encouraged to continue to exchange staff and students through the Erasmus+ programme, and to continue to collaborate through Horizon 2020. There will be no changes to the UK’s participation in these programmes, including for projects and mobilities that run past 31 December 2020. 

The UK’s participation in Horizon Europe and Erasmus+, which will both begin 1 January 2021, will be part of the negotiations between the UK and the EU. UK universities are pressing the UK government to prioritise negotiating continued participation in these programmes and, if that cannot be achieved, to explore putting into place national replacement schemes. 

The full list of signatories: 
Academy of Medical Sciences 
Aurora Universities Network 
British Council EU Region 
CaSE - Campaign for Science and Engineering 
CBI – Confederation of British Industry 
Council of Rectors of Latvia 
CPU - Conference of University Presidents, France 
CRASP - Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland 
CRC - Czech Rectors’ Conference 
CREF - Rectors conference of the Belgian French universities 
Crue Universidades Españolas – Spanish Rectors’ Conference 
CRUI - The Conference of Italian University Rectors 
CRUP - Portuguese Rectors’ Conference 
ECIU – European Consortium of Innovative Universities 
EUA - European University Association 
Flemish Interuniversity Council 
GuildHE – a UK representative body for small and specialist universities and colleges 
HRC - Hungarian Rectors’ Conference 
HRK – The German Rectors' Conference 
Icelandic Rector´s Conference 
Irish University Association 
LERU - League of European Research Universities 
SUHF – The Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions 
The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities 
UNICA - Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe 
UNIFI - Universities Finland 
Universities Austria 
Universities Denmark 
Universities Estonia 
Universities Lithuania 
Universities Norway 
University of Luxembourg 
Universities UK 
VSNU - The Association of Universities in the Netherlands 

1. More information about what the Brexit transition period means for universities can be found here 
2. General FAQs abut Brexit and universities is available here 
3. To see what universities would like to see from a post-Brexit settlement between the UK and the EU, see here 
4. To arrange an interview or to request further information, please email Annie Bell or call +44 20 7419 5470 
5. Universities UK is the collective voice of 137 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its mission is to create the conditions for UK universities to be the best in the world; maximising their positive impact locally, nationally and globally. Universities UK acts on behalf of universities, represented by their heads of institution. Visit: 
6. Universities UK International (UUKi) represents UK higher education institutions (HEIs) globally and helps them flourish internationally. To do this we actively promote UK HEIs abroad, provide trusted information for and about them, and create new opportunities through our unique ability to act at sector level. We draw on UK university expertise to influence policy in the UK and overseas, delivering information, advice and guidance to facilitate mutually beneficial collaboration between UK HEIs and a broad range of international partners. Visit: 


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Ruben Puylaert


+316 13 86 10 69

Gijs Kooistra

Deputy spokesperson

+316 82 05 72 66