For Staff

EU Referendum

Updated - 21 March 2017

Overview

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union, with 51.9 per cent in favour of ‘leave’ and 48.1 per cent for ‘remain’.

Following the vote, the University Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands issued a statement, in which he stressed that:

  • the University will work tirelessly to ensure that students, academics and our wider group of staff from Europe can continue to study and work at Leeds

  • for at least the next couple of years we do not envisage any material change to the status of current and prospective EU students and staff

  • we will work hard to ensure that students and staff who may be affected by the referendum outcome are properly supported at all times and they will be offered advice by the University on a regular basis as the national policy picture becomes clearer.

More generally, Sir Alan stressed that Leeds is an international university in a City that looks outwards; and that our determination to attract and welcome talent from across Europe and around the world is undiminished.

Read the full text of the statement.

The Vice-Chancellor gave an updated view of the impact of Brexit on the University and the higher education sector in his Leader Column for the March 2017 issue of the Reporter.  You can read the column online.

Current situation

Barring unilateral action from the UK Government, the referendum result does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the University’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+, nor to the immigration status of current and prospective EU students and staff.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU will be decided.

Nonetheless, a vote to leave the EU clearly poses significant challenges for UK universities, creates uncertainty and raises many important questions that require answers.

The University of Leeds will work with partners including other higher education institutions, Universities UK and The Russell Group to seek clarification on key questions from Government, the European Commission and other relevant agencies. It is likely that it will take time for some of the more difficult questions to be answered, particularly those that require high level political decision making and those that are dependent on the exit negotiations or negotiations of any new (non-member) arrangement between the UK and EU. 

The University is committed to ensuring that staff are updated on developments directly affecting them. Updates will be placed on this page of For Staff.

Below is further information on the position as we understand it based on statements by Government and other agencies in relation to two of the most pressing issues for staff – research funding and the immigration status of EU staff.  If you have questions relating to the referendum and its impact on the University, please email internalcomms@leeds.ac.uk and we will do our best to answer them.

Research funding

Updated - 28 March 2017

While Leeds is not as dependent on European research funding as some universities, it is nonetheless of great importance to the work of the University, accounting for nearly 16% of our research income.

The UK’s status as a full participating member of the Horizon 2020 programme has not yet changed as a result of the referendum vote and it is our understanding that existing projects, project grants and contracts will be honoured. More specifically:

  • existing FP7 and H2020 projects will not be affected. Any expenditure to date is still valid and it is not foreseen that any UK partner in an existing project will be forced to depart
  • following the August 2016 statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it has been confirmed that projects funded from applications made while the UK is/was still an EU Member State will not be jeopardised, with funding underwritten by the UK Government if not honoured by the European Commission
  • H2020 proposals should therefore go ahead as planned To re-negotiate underlying EU treaties and the committed payments to H2020 will take years rather than months and all grant agreements awarded from these calls (and funding awarded) will be honoured
  • evaluation of projects from the UK/with UK partners have been unaffected by the decision. The H2020 evaluation process is genuinely impartial and robust and is overseen by independent observers. Evaluation briefings are all preceded with a section on ensuring that Brexit is not a consideration for any evaluation.  The University has received several awards post-referendum, including a record number of Marie Curie Fellowships.
  • Universities UK is liaising with the UK Research Office and the European Commission and advises that updated advice on prospective and currently negotiated projects will be circulated as soon as possible.
  • The UK will continue to have a say in the development of the next Framework Programme ("FP9") until the official exit of the UK from the European Union.  The exact nature of the UK's access to the next funding programme will depend on wider Brexit negotiations.

More broadly, issues on which the University and our partners will seek clarification include:

  • the period of time during which the University can continue to access EU funding programmes and networks on current terms
  • whether after formal exit UK students and staff will be able to access research or mobility networks and programmes and, if so, the terms on which they can do this
  • whether freedom of movement will continue for UK and EU-based researchers
  • arrangements for UK participation in EU-funded projects and collaborations post-Brexit.

We are aware of some consortia removing UK partners from applications. If you experience this, please contact Ben Williams, Head of European Funding. 

EU staff – immigration status

The University currently employs 690 staff from the EU and they are integral to our current and future success, as well as being a valued part of the community.

The immigration status of EU staff has not changed as a result of the referendum vote. The University will work with others in the sector to ensure that we continue to be able to recruit and retain world-leading academics, researchers, professional and support staff under any future immigration policy.

The ability of students and staff to be able to move freely throughout Europe has been key to our academic success and the University will do all we can to limit any impact on this resulting from the referendum vote.

Issues on which the University and our partners will seek clarification include:

  • whether once the UK leaves the EU, EU staff currently working at the University will be granted the right to remain in the UK permanently

  • whether visas will be required for EU staff to work at UK universities and, if so, on what terms

  • when any new visa requirement would come in to place, and what transition arrangements are foreseen.

Read the government's 11 July 2016 statement on the status of EU nationals in the UK.

For more information and advice about recruitment, immigration status and other HR issues, please contact Caroline Langham (34150).

Students

A section of the University’s main website has been created, dedicated to informing current and prospective students on issues affecting them. This includes a letter sent to all postgraduate researchers by Professor Claire Honess, Dean of Postgraduate Studies.

While the University endeavours to keep this information as up to date as possible, it cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies. For the latest information from the government, please visit the Department for Exiting the European Union website. Regularly updated Brexit FAQs for universities and students are also available on the Universities UK website.

 

Updates

Brexit: Working together

The Vice-Chancellor's Leader Column from the forthcoming Reporter.

EU funding update from our RIS team

Find out more about the post-Brexit EU research funding landscape from our EU Research Development team.

Immigration information sessions

You can now download the collected Q&As and presentation slides from the immigration information sessions held in September, which discussed the implications of the Brexit vote.

Funding support for EU students

The government has announced that European Union students applying for university places in the 2017/2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support.

Immigration information sessions

HR has arranged two information sessions for staff who may be concerned or have queries about the effect of the Brexit vote on immigration matters.

EU funding beyond Brexit

British businesses and universities have been given certainty over future funding and should continue to bid for competitive EU funds while the UK remains a member of the EU.

Coping with change and uncertainty arising out of the Brexit vote

The University's Occupational Health Service has compiled a guide to tools and strategies which may help staff to cope with the change and uncertainty arising from the Brexit vote.

EU research funding post-Brexit

What effect has the Brexit vote had on you and your research at Leeds? The EU Research Funding team in RIS would love to hear from all academic and research staff.

Looking Brexit in the teeth

The Vice-Chancellor's Leader Column on the challenges posed by the Brexit vote.

EU referendum updates

We have created a new section of this website where you will find news and updates arising out of the EU Referendum vote.

Browse EU Referendum by date