Russell Group Brussels delegation champions continued collaboration with the EU

31 August 2016

Russell Group Vice-Chancellors and senior staff visited Brussels this week to promote continued collaboration between Russell Group universities and European partners.

They met with Carlos Moedas (European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation) and senior Commission officials, Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon (President of the European Research Council) and a cross-party group of MEPs, to stress the importance of academic collaboration, research funding and the huge contribution EU staff and students make to our universities.

The delegation was led by Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, and Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice Chancellor of the University of York.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, said:

“The UK has not yet left the European Union and our universities’ global outlook has not changed – we are just as open and welcoming to students, staff and ideas as we were before the referendum.”

As the Government prepares to negotiate Brexit it is important to understand that our universities have long thrived on global collaboration and international interaction – be it through European staff and students coming to our universities, or when our best researchers work with colleagues across Europe to tackle big social and scientific challenges.”

The Russell Group will continue to work closely with the Government to ensure the best possible outcome for our universities so that we can continue to form productive collaborations across Europe.

Notes to editors

1.       Russell Group universities received over half a billion pounds in EU research grants and contracts in 2014/15. [HESA data: RGUs won £579 million in research grants and contracts from EU sources including EU government; EU industry, commerce & public corporations; EU-based charities (open competitive process); and other EU sources, with £504 million from EU government bodies]

2.      There are 22,880 members of staff from other EU countries working at Russell Group universities - one fifth of our academic staff. Over 58,000 students from other EU countries are studying at Russell Group universities. Both groups make a vital contribution to the success of our universities. [Staff and student numbers are from HESA data 2014/15]

3.      Russell Group universities contribute over £32 billion a year to the UK economy annually (Russell Group analysis of UUK’s report The impact of universities on the UK economy, which found that the HE sector overall generated over £73 billion of economic output.)

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