Russell Group and Hamburg delegation call for research to be Brexit priority

23 October 2017

The Russell Group of universities and representatives of the state Government of Hamburg called on both sides of the Brexit negotiations to ensure research collaboration is made a priority as talks on the UK’s future relationship with the EU progress.

Their intervention follows a roundtable meeting between the Russell Group and a delegation from Hamburg led by Senator Katharina Fegebank, Second Mayor of Hamburg and Senator for the Hamburg Ministry of Science.

The call comes as EU leaders gather in Brussels for a meeting of the European Council.

Germany is the most common research partner for Russell Group universities under the flagship EU Horizon 2020 funding scheme. Since the programme began in 2014, Russell Group universities have made 1,292 links with collaborative partners in Germany.

Commenting, Acting Director of the Russell Group Dr Tim Bradshaw said:

“Openness to new ideas and different ways of thinking is fundamental to successful research. This is why we value so highly the international links that we have built with partners in Germany. New barriers that would make it more difficult for researchers in the UK to work with people in Hamburg and other parts of Germany are not in the best interests of science. The current relationship is mutually beneficial and we want this to continue.

“It was great to have the opportunity to meet the Hamburg delegation and underline our commitment to maintaining UK-German research ties after Brexit. The rights of citizens come first, but both sides of the talks also need to make research a priority.”

Senator Fegebank added:

“The UK and Germany have developed close research ties over the years and we in Hamburg want this joint working to continue after the UK leaves the European Union.

“Germany has made thousands of research links with Russell Group universities. We want to build on this success.

“An agreement on research that would allow us to maintain the strong working relationship that UK and German partners have built through European programmes is the outcome that is in the best interests of both sides of the negotiations.”


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