Joint declaration on science and research

14 January 2019

Vice chancellors from the Russell Group and German U15 have signed a declaration pledging their commitment to promote cutting-edge research, innovation and student education post-Brexit.

Anton and Hans signing the declaration

The two countries already work together more than they work with any other countries in the Horizon 2020 funding programme and a third of German U15 Horizon 2020 projects include a Russell Group university member.

2,250 students from Russell Group universities studied or worked in Germany as part of the EU’s Erasmus programme in 2015/16. 

German U15 and Russell Group Joint Statement

The 24 Russell Group universities in the UK and the 15 universities comprising the German U15 group have a long history of cooperation and collaboration on world-class research, cutting-edge innovation and excellent teaching.

The UK will be leaving the EU at the end of March 2019. In this context, it is more important than ever that our respective universities can continue to work together in the most frictionless manner possible. We believe this will deliver mutual benefits for the economies and societies not only of our two countries, but for Europe more widely.

We are calling on our respective governments to ensure that the fruitful links between our institutions can be maintained and strengthened going forwards by:

  1. Promoting and facilitating research and innovation partnerships and collaboration: state and regional governments should seek to support cooperation, such as joint research programmes and projects, joint university courses, workshops, training and exchange of scientific information, by ensuring appropriate funding is available and minimising regulatory barriers where they exist.
  2. Ensuring as easy mobility as possible of students, academics and other research workers between the UK and Germany: world-class higher education and research depend on a dynamic flow and exchange of ideas and talent. Whilst there may be new immigration arrangements in place between the UK and Germany in the future, both governments should seek to ensure mobility can be promoted and facilitated. Continued UK engagement in the EU’s Erasmus programme, subject to negotiation between the UK Government and the European Commission, would be beneficial to Russell Group and U15 universities and their students.
  3. Working together to ensure Horizon Europe, the next EU framework programme for research and innovation, is as effective as possible and supports fair and appropriate participation of UK organisations: to this end, the programme regulations need to be agreed in a timely way and should create the possibility for the UK to associate fully to the programme, subject to negotiation between the UK Government and the European Commission.

The Russell Group and the German U15 remain committed to sustaining the successful ties they have already established and will seek new ways to work more closely together in future.

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