Article 50 - open letter

29 March 2017

The leaders of the Russell Group of universities today heralded the contribution of EU students and staff to UK higher education as the Government prepared to trigger Article 50.

In an open letter published this morning (Wednesday), Russell Group Chair Professor Sir David Greenaway and Acting Director Dr Tim Bradshaw called for urgent assurances from ministers over the rights of citizens of other EU member states and reiterated the commitment of Russell Group universities to maintaining research ties with partners across Europe.

The text of the open letter is as follows:


Russell Group universities are international institutions with a global reputation for the quality of our teaching, research and collaborative relationships. Leaving the EU will not change this.

Universities have a key role to play in building a stronger UK economy in years to come. Our members will always remain open to new ideas and talent from across the world.

We recognise the triggering of Article 50 will cause further concern for staff and students from other member states who are living and working in the UK.

Our message today to European citizens based at our institutions is clear and unambiguous. Students, lecturers, researchers and professional services staff from across Europe have helped make our higher education sector a world leader. We value your contribution to our universities and the UK. We want you and your families to stay after the UK leaves the EU and are working to ensure you have the right to do so.

In the meantime, we will remain part of the EU until the Article 50 process is complete. You still have the right to live and work in the UK. The announcement today changes nothing in that regard.

The Government has stated no long-term deal on the rights of EU citizens who are resident in the UK at present would be possible until after Article 50 talks began. With negotiations now underway, we urge the Prime Minister to guarantee that EU citizens living and working in the UK will be able to stay and the rights they have at present will be respected. This should be confirmed as soon as possible.

To our European partners, we reiterate that UK universities will continue to be eligible for Horizon 2020 funding until the end of the Article 50 process. The UK Government has already guaranteed to underwrite the payments of awards won whilst the UK is still a member of the EU, even when specific projects continue after Brexit.

Russell Group universities and our partners across the EU have achieved an enormous amount together. Brexit will not mean an end to this international collaboration. Whether through framework programmes or other arrangements, collaboration will continue.

We will continue to work closely with our Government as the Article 50 process continues.


Professor Sir David Greenaway

Chair of the Russell Group and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham

Dr Tim Bradshaw

Acting Director of the Russell Group












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