EU update: message from the Vice-Chancellor

Dear colleague,

I was delighted to see so many of you at the launch events for our new Strategic Plan on Monday and Wednesday. It was unplanned but fortunate, I think, that we had the opportunity to come together and talk about the extraordinary events of the last week, as well as the Strategy itself. For those of you who were unable to come, you can find a link to a Mediasite recording on the Strategy webpage. We have also created a new webpage that will draw together information about the EU referendum outcome and its ramifications.

This has been a tumultuous week for political affairs but clarity is emerging on some issues. Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson has announced that EU students already with us, and those joining in September, will still be able to access the student loans system for the full duration of their course. Similarly, it was confirmed that EU masters students starting in 2016 will have access to the new postgraduate loan system. We will continue to lobby through our own efforts, and via the Russell Group and Universities UK, on matters that affect our staff and students, including their long-term international mobility and continued access to various EU schemes.

Currently there are still more questions than answers, particularly in the area of research funding, but you may be interested in the statement issued by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on Tuesday. We will post more information on our new web page as it becomes available, in addition to links to statements like this, and I will email you regularly through the coming weeks. It is clear, given that the UK remains a full member of the EU until such time as the exit mechanism is triggered and a deal agreed, that our academic staff are fully entitled to participate in all of the EU’s research schemes. While we have anecdotal evidence that some European partners may be somewhat reluctant to include researchers and institutions whose long-term status within the EU is uncertain, I urge you to continue to be proactive in your efforts to develop and consolidate collaborative links with EU partners.

I would like to finish this message by reflecting on the enormous contribution that our international staff and students make to the University. This is, and will continue to be, a global university that plays on the world stage. We would not be where we are now without the amazingly talented staff and students we attract from across the world. I know from numerous emails and conversations over the last few days that our UK staff are deeply concerned that many of our international community have interpreted the referendum result as an affront and a form of rejection. I am aware that this concern is shared by the majority of the citizens and leaders of our city, including our new Mayor, who has spoken passionately about our city’s multiculturalism and international aspirations. I urge all of our UK staff to reaffirm our welcome to, and appreciation of, our international staff and students during these turbulent times.

If you have particular concerns that are not addressed by the information on the website, please do contact my office at vc-epa@bristol.ac.uk.

Best wishes,

Hugh

Professor Hugh Brady
Vice-Chancellor and President

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