EU & International

Russell Group universities are global businesses competing for staff, students and funding with the best in the world.

Between them, they engage with partners in academia and business, and conduct research and education in nearly every country on earth. They form a large part of one of the UK’s most successful export industries and so it is vital that our internationally-renowned universities are supported.

Research funding and collaboration

European Union funding for research has been key to the successful growth of research excellence in the UK. For leading UK universities, European funding isn’t a top-up, but an important part of our research income. Between 2015 and 2020, the UK is expected to win at least £6 billion from the Horizon 2020 research programme. Russell Group universities win a high proportion of EU research funds, enabling them to conduct even more fundamental, applied and translational research into the grand challenges facing us, including healthy ageing, clean energy, and food security.

Global academic links are essential to world-class research and the advancement of ideas. All Russell Group universities have extensive research links internationally, most have formalised partnerships with institutions abroad, and some have invested in physical campuses in countries such as China and Malaysia. The EU provides a unique and highly competitive platform on which UK universities can collaborate internationally.

In light of the UK's decision to leave the European Union, we will work closely with the Government to secure this vital investment in research.

Erasmus+ and staff mobility

The European exchange programme Erasmus+ is very valuable to our universities, their staff and students. Giving students the opportunity to study abroad can help improve language skills, enhance cultural awareness, expose new methods of learning and working and increase independence and maturity. These are skills and experiences that are highly sought-after by employers and are vital to the UK’s future success.

Freedom of movement within the EU has had a significantly beneficial impact on our universities. The ability of universities to recruit EU nationality staff and students without having to negotiate the UK visa system (and the associated expense and administrative burden for both parties) is incredibly valuable. These individuals bring value not only to our universities but also to the surrounding areas and businesses based in the UK.


Visas and migration

International students and staff make a vital contribution to the success of our universities academically, culturally and financially, and graduates frequently go on to become valuable overseas partners for UK companies and organisations.

It is crucial that the immigration system continues to support the efforts of our universities to attract talented people who have a legitimate interest in studying, teaching or carrying out research here.

The UK needs to signal clearly that its doors are fully open to the world’s best academics and genuine international students as even the perception that the UK is unwelcoming can be damaging. While tackling abuse, the Government must make sure its immigration policies are internationally competitive in order to maximise the potential for economic growth.

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