EU & International

Russell Group universities are truly international, with a global reputation for the quality of their teaching, research and collaborative relationships. Their discoveries and contributions in areas like clean energy and health have a global impact.

International collaboration with the best scientific partners around the world has also helped to provide the expertise and knowledge exchange that has been integral to our universities’ response to outbreaks of new diseases like Covid-19.

Attracting talent and funding for research from around the globe is fiercely competitive. We work with the Government to make it easier for the best students and scientists to come to the UK through a visa and immigration system that works for universities and students, while ensuring Britain benefits from the skills and expertise it needs most. The new Global Talent Visa will help UK institutions compete in the global race for talented scientists. Fully realising the potential of this visa depends on wider improvements to the immigration system which are faced by all visa applicants. To help make those improvements a reality, we work closely with the Home Office and other Government departments to provide evidence and analysis on how the UK’s immigration system can be made globally competitive, while ensuring it continues to work for Britain.  

Lower fees and attractive visa options will get top global talent to our universities not only in London, but right across the UK. As Britain and countries around the world recover from the impact of Covid-19, maintaining our position as an international destination for students will be even more important. We work with the Government to: 

  • Enhance our international reputation for providing the world’s best quality education and student experience
  • Reform visa rules, cut red-tape, and make the UK an even more attractive destination for international students
  • Seek a global consensus on the recognition of online courses so students returning home after studying during Covid-19 get the maximum recognition of the value of their degree

Learn more: Our proposals to ensure the UK remains a top destination for international students

International scientific collaboration

Research and innovation are global endeavours, and international collaboration is a crucial part of developing the life-changing research that our universities generate.

Europe is the UK’s biggest collaborator on science. Under Horizon 2020, the EU’s flagship multilateral science and innovation programme 2014-2020, our universities fostered collaborations with partners both in and beyond the EU. Following the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK will participate in Horizon Europe as an associate member on the same basis as Member States. This is an excellent outcome of the negotiations, and will enable our universities to continue to undertake groundbreaking research with partners around the world. Participation in Horizon Europe forms an integral part of the UK’s global research collaboration strategy, capitalising on successful partnerships built up over many years and creating more opportunities ahead.

In-depth: Our statement following news of a deal between the UK and the European Union

Our universities collaborate on research across a range of areas and take their responsibilities regarding national security very seriously. All international agreements are subject to a range of rigorous due diligence checks, in line with Government guidance, to protect national security and intellectual property. 

Our members continue to work with Government, the Centre for the National Protection of Infrastructure (CPNI), the National Cyber Security Centre and UUK to enhance screening of international research partners, and protect sensitive research including Covid vaccine research.

International exchange

International programmes for exchange and travel help bright, curious people forge links between the UK and participating countries. Participants go on to become successful graduates, scientific and business leaders. Russell Group universities have strong links with countries around the world and will continue to build on those, including through the new Turing Scheme for student mobility. We are working with the Government to ensure that students at our universities will continue to benefit from the opportunity to spend time abroad.

Just as our universities benefit from close partnerships and relationships with top universities and institutions around the world, the Russell Group also works with counterparts representing research-intensive universities in other countries. Those relationships provide a rich exchange of information and best practice on the opportunities and challenges facing universities in our respective countries. This work means we are fully connected with our international colleagues and can support our work in a truly global context.

Read more: In January 2019 the Russell Group signed a joint declaration on science and research with the German U15 group of universities, with a commitment to further collaboration and openness.

In July 2020, the Russell Group and German U15 both signed a letter produced by the Wellcome Trust on suggestions for a mutually beneficial agreement on Horizon Europe.  

Media Enquiries
Policy Enquiries
  • Stephanie Smith

    020 3816 1310