The UK’s vote to leave the European Union will inevitably have significant implications for higher education and research, and for our School. Many of our staff and students are from EU countries, we are involved in European research programmes, and have an influential voice in European public health and policy. We now face a challenging period of uncertainty, and there will be many important questions – from staff, students, prospective students, research partners and other stakeholders – that may be impossible to answer for some time.
However, please be assured that there will not be any immediate change to our participation in EU programmes and partnerships, or to the immigration status of staff or to current and prospective students. In order to begin the process of withdrawal from the EU, the government needs to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which calls for a two year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.
These negotiations will be a gradual process, and there will be time to raise issues of concern and influence debate. Science and health are recognised as being among the UK’s great strengths, and it is therefore vital that our collective voice is heard when difficult political decisions that follow are made. Throughout this process, we will be working closely with our partners and relevant agencies, including Universities UK, to seek clarification from the UK Government and European Commission on key issues. We will also prioritise securing opportunities for our researchers and students to access vital pan-European programmes and build on our global networks.