EU and UK research and higher education organisations plan a strong future relationship post-Brexit

36 major UK and international organisations, including CESAER, have reaffirmed their commitment to working together, and are calling on our respective governments to make this a priority as discussions about the future relationship get underway.
31st January 2020
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On the day that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, higher education and research organisations from across the UK and Europe have reaffirmed their commitment to working together, and are calling on our respective governments to make this a priority as discussions about the future relationship get underway.

Alongside Universities UK, a total of 36 major domestic and international organisations, which includes the European University Association (EUA), 24 National University representative bodies, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and many other bodies across Europe, have committed to maintaining their current relationships. These groups are asking governments and the European Commission to ensure a swift agreement on the UK's full association to Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe before the end of 2020.

The statement reads:

"We, the major bodies representing, and partnering with, science and higher education across the UK and Europe, are united in agreeing that we wish to continue to work together following the departure of the UK from the European Union. We call on our national governments and the European Commission to act on the commitments of the political declaration and work swiftly to agree a basis for continued collaboration through the UK's full association to Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. Swift agreement in this area of clear mutual benefit would be good for all of us and should be reached before the end of 2020, allowing for the development of innovative and stronger collaborations over the decades to come."

The UK and EU now enter a transition period that will last until 31 December 2020. During this transition period the UK will remain a full member of Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. UK and European institutions are encouraged to continue to exchange staff and students through the Erasmus+ programme, and to continue to collaborate through Horizon 2020. There will be no changes to the UK's participation in these programmes, including for projects and mobilities that run past 31 December 2020.

The UK's participation in Horizon Europe and Erasmus+, which will both begin 1 January 2021, will be part of the negotiations between the UK and the EU. UK universities are pressing the UK government to prioritise negotiating continued participation in these programmes and, if that cannot be achieved, to explore putting into place national replacement schemes.

The full list of signatories:

Academy of Medical Sciences

Aurora Universities Network

British Council EU Region

CaSE - Campaign for Science and Engineering

CBI – Confederation of British Industry


Council of Rectors of Latvia

CPU - Conference of University Presidents, France

CRASP - Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland

CRC - Czech Rectors' Conference

CREF - Rectors conference of the Belgian French universities

Crue Universidades Españolas – Spanish Rectors' Conference

CRUI - The Conference of Italian University Rectors

CRUP - Portuguese Rectors' Conference

ECIU – European Consortium of Innovative Universities

EUA - European University Association

Flemish Interuniversity Council

GuildHE – a UK representative body for small and specialist universities and colleges

HRC - Hungarian Rectors' Conference

HRK – The German Rectors' Conference

Icelandic Rector´s Conference

Irish University Association

LERU - League of European Research Universities

SUHF – The Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions


The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities

UNICA - Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe

UNIFI - Universities Finland

Universities Austria

Universities Denmark

Universities Estonia

Universities Lithuania

Universities Norway

University of Luxembourg

Universities UK

VSNU - The Association of Universities in the Netherlands


1. More information about what the Brexit transition period means for universities can be found here

2. General FAQs abut Brexit and universities is available here

3. To see what universities would like to see from a post-Brexit settlement between the UK and the EU, see here

4. To arrange an interview or to request further information, please email Annie Bell or call +44 20 7419 5470

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