On 31 January, with Brexit underway, higher education and research organisations from both sides of the English Channel published a common statement committing to maintain their current relationships. An initiative of Universities UK, 36 major organisations representing science and higher education across the UK and Europe signed the document, including EUA. The statement calls for full association to the future Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe programmes.
“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+,” the statement reads. “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.”
During the transition period, which will end on 31 December, the UK will remain a full member of Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. As of 1 January 2021, the UK’s participation in the programmes will depend on the negotiations between the UK and the EU taking place this year. EUA has published a brief “Brexit – what now for universities?” that is useful for universities in both the EU and the UK. It gives an overview of what has already been agreed and the further process towards the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
EUA’s position was further reinforced by an opinion piece by President Michael Murphy on Research Professional, published on 26 January. In the article, Michael Murphy discusses the goal of association to EU programmes, as well as integration in the European Research and Education Areas.