News, statements and policy announcements from the University about the latest Brexit developments.
28 March 2018
BREXIT Strategy for Research
The University’s desired outcomes from the Brexit negotiations remain unchanged, namely we wish to continue to:
- participate in future EU Framework programmes and conduct world-class collaborative research with EU colleagues
- host European Research Council grants
- co-ordinate and host collaborative European projects and infrastructures
- recruit and retain the best staff regardless of nationality
- recruit the best students regardless of nationality
The Strategy anticipates four main areas of work, with four key aims: risk mitigation; alternative sources of funding; strengthening collaboration; and, engagement with government and staff.
Aim One: Understand and mitigate key risks to research activities
A Brexit Task Force has been convened to examine four main areas where Brexit poses a risk: Research Funding (H2020/FP9); HR (general immigration status, staff recruitment and retention); Students (recruitment, funding and Erasmus) and, Assets and Infrastructure. The Task Force involves senior staff from Research Services, divisional offices, HR, Student Recruitment (undergraduate and graduate) and International Strategy.
Aim Two: Identify and target alternative non-UK sources of funding for research
An International Landscape Project will create a resource to assist the institution in understanding current and future trends in international funding to support the diversification of the research funding base and increase market share.
Aim Three: Strengthen EU collaborations and relationships
In addition to the International Landscape Project, the University will consider mechanisms to identify and support strategic research relationships particularly where institutional investment or co-financing might be required. Where appropriate, this could include institutions outside Europe.
Aim Four: Engage with UK government and its agencies to ensure best possible outcomes for research at Oxford
The University will continue to lobby government and liaise with key stakeholder platforms (Russell Group, UUK, LERU el al) to gain best outcomes either by continued association to research programmes or by ensuring that any UK alternatives will bring equal benefit to research activities.
Engage with staff and students
Throughout the whole process, the University will keep staff and students informed of any developments in the negotiations that affect them.
Other activities and actions may become apparent following the completion of the Brexit Task Force initiative on risk mitigation or as the negotiation process continues and/or the political landscape changes.
15 December 2017
End of Brexit Phase 1 discussions
On December 8, the UK and EU issued a joint report of the Phase 1 discussions of Brexit negotiations. Today, the EU has announced it considers the report to be sufficient progress to allow the second phase of negotiations to get under way.
There still remains some uncertainty over whether the outcomes of the Phase 1 talks will be an eventual part of the withdrawal agreement, depending on further rounds of discussions. We will continue our efforts to ensure that the final agreement is in the best interests of the University, its staff and its students. However, there are two aspects of the Phase 1 report that can be given a cautious welcome.
Firstly, the status of the many colleagues from other parts of the EU has been a major concern for the University, so it is good to see that the specified date in terms of any changes to their rights is confirmed as the time of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, in March 2019. That means that all European colleagues who are here already, as well as those who come to the UK before that date, will be able to claim permanent residency status through what are referred to as “transparent, smooth and streamlined” administrative procedures. Those colleagues who already hold a permanent residency document will be able to convert it into the new document free of charge, subject to verification of identity and one or two other checks. In addition, and particularly important for those whose careers might take them out of the UK for extended periods of time, there will a limit of five years of consecutive absence before rights of permanent residence are lost. You can find a more detailed analysis below.
Secondly, the report encouragingly states that the UK will continue to have full access to Horizon 2020 and to Erasmus+ until the closure of these programmes in 2020 (paragraph 71 of the report is clear on the issue of existing EU programmes under Horizon 2020). This has been confirmed by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Universities, Jo Johnson. On the face of it, this is very good news for our researchers, who will be able to continue to apply for European funding until the end of H2020, and for our students and staff who wish to take advantage of Erasmus placements.
The joint report seeks to protect those EU citizens and their families who have exercised their free movement rights and live in the UK at the time of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. In summary, the joint report includes the following commitments for EU/EEA citizens:
- EU citizens and their families who arrive before the date of UK withdrawal but have not completed five years residence will be able to remain until they have reached the five year threshold. They can then apply for ‘settled status’.
- EU citizens and their families who have completed five years residence before the date of withdrawal and have acquired ‘settled status’ can apply to retain that status.
- The period of residence must have been as an EU worker, self-employed person, student, self-sufficient person; or the family member of such a person.
- The requirement to have held comprehensive sickness insurance will be dropped.
- Family members (including spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) not living in the UK at the time of withdrawal will continue to be entitled to join the EU citizen after withdrawal, if the relationship existed at the date of withdrawal and continues to exist. Children born or adopted (either in the UK or outside) after the withdrawal date will also be entitled to join their EU citizen parent in the UK.
- EU citizens and their families residing in the UK at the withdrawal date will remain entitled to healthcare, pensions and other state benefits.
- Those who have already obtained a Permanent Residence document will have that document converted into the new document, free of charge.
- Those who acquire permanent residence under the withdrawal arrangements can be absent from the UK for up to five consecutive years without losing their residence rights.
The UK has stated that EU/EEA citizens applying for status to remain in the UK will be able to do so using a new and simple online application form and that the process aims to be “transparent, smooth and streamlined”. The fee (for those who do not already have a Permanent Residence card for whom it will be free) will be no more than the cost of a British passport. If you have any questions or wish to discuss your status or possible applications, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in Personnel Services.
6 September 2017
Commenting on the UK Government’s ambition to secure a far-reaching agreement with the EU on science and innovation, Acting Director of the Russell Group Dr Tim Bradshaw said:
"Since the start of the Horizon 2020 programme, Russell Group universities have made over 9,300 collaborative links with partners in every EU Member State and beyond. Establishing a framework which will allow these vital scientific collaborations to continue will help strengthen UK and EU science and enhance the prosperity and well-being of all countries involved. We are keen to work closely with Ministers and officials in the coming weeks on what such an ambitious agreement could look like given UK universities’ unique relationship with European science and innovation.
"Now that the Government is clearly serious about securing a positive outcome for science from the Brexit negotiations, a good first step will be to ensure UK organisations can continue participating in the Horizon 2020 programme until its end. We urge the UK Government to secure an agreement with the EU which will allow our universities to remain core partners in European research projects from the day we leave the EU.
"Scientific excellence is dependent on excellent people. Ensuring EU nationals have the certainty they need to plan for a future studying or working in the UK is essential. We want to ensure students, academics and other university staff feel welcome in the UK and valued for the hugely important contributions they make in the classroom, on campus and in their local communities."
30 June 2017
Horizon 2020 funding
Latest figures on UK participation in Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, show that the University of Oxford has received the highest share of funding not just in the United Kingdom, but across the whole of the European Union.
Oxford currently undertakes 303 projects and received total funding of €218m. Three other British institutions – Cambridge, University College London and Imperial College London – received the next biggest share of Horizon 2020 funds, with the universities of Edinburgh and Manchester also in the top ten.
Commenting on the publication of the data, Oxford University’s Head of Brexit Strategy, Professor Alastair Buchan said:
‘The European framework programmes have been vital to research at Oxford, and have helped establish the University as one of the very best in the world.
‘But, as important as the research income we have received has been the ability to forge international partnerships and collaborations and recruit the very best European and international academics, researchers, and students. The benefit of this to the UK cannot be overestimated, and the current high standing of UK universities is undoubtedly at risk as a result of the UK leaving the European Union, whether our exit be hard or soft.’
The new figures are available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uks-participation-in-horizon-2020-may-2017
31 March 2017
Oxford and Article 50
Article 50 was triggered by the Prime Minister on 29 March. We understand that this move by the UK will add to the concerns that our staff and students from elsewhere in the European Union have been expressing since the outcome of the referendum last June. However, as the Vice-Chancellor and heads of colleges wrote to the Times on 13 March, Oxford values greatly the role and many contributions of its European academic, research and support staff, as it values the contributions of its EU undergraduate and graduate students. We rely on your endeavours to maintain Oxford in its position as one of the leading universities in the world.
For the time being, notwithstanding the triggering of Article 50, nothing has changed. The UK remains part of the EU and non-UK EU citizens have the right to live and work in the UK. So we say again that the Government must guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are currently living and working in the UK to be able to stay here and to have their current rights respected. This is a matter of extreme importance and must be settled quickly.
The Staff Immigration Team is ready to support staff with immigration concerns because of Brexit and with applications to demonstrate their rights as EU citizens, with further advice from an immigration solicitor if required. Information can be accessed from the link below. If you require this support, please email James Baker (email@example.com) or Tim Currie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
18 January 2017
PM’s Brexit speech – the universities angle
Theresa May has stressed continued research collaboration with Europe will be one of her priorities for a negotiated Brexit settlement.
Setting out her approach to Brexit in a speech at Lancaster House, the Prime Minister listed strong science and innovation among the dozen key principles.
Mrs May said: ‘A Global Britain must also be a country that looks to the future. That means being one of the best places in the world for science and innovation.
‘One of our great strengths as a nation is the breadth and depth of our academic and scientific communities, backed up by some of the world's best universities. And we have a proud history of leading and supporting cutting-edge research and innovation.
‘So we will also welcome agreement to continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research, and technology initiatives.’
Her words have been interpreted as a signal that the UK will seek continued inclusion in Horizon 2020 and future European research programmes. Questions remain whether the UK would need EU associated nation status to guarantee inclusion.
Mrs May’s speech also signalled students would remain important within any new immigration arrangements with EU countries. She said: We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain – indeed openness to international talent must remain one of this country's most distinctive assets – but that process must be managed properly so that our immigration system serves the national interest.
Further reports and reaction
- PM Brexit speech: UK will ‘welcome’ deal on European research
- May hints at continued European scientific collaboration
- Universities UK response
- Russell Group response
8 December 2016
Head of Brexit Strategy
Since the result of the referendum was announced in June, the Vice-Chancellor and colleagues have been working assiduously to lobby the government, to identify opportunities for the University that might arise as a result of Brexit, and to plan for different possible outcomes.
These issues are of central importance to the future of the University and so Council agreed with the Vice-Chancellor’s proposal to create a new post of Head of Brexit Strategy. Professor Alastair Buchan, currently Head of the Medical Sciences Division, has been appointed to the role. He will co-ordinate the University’s response to Brexit to ensure that the University’s interests are protected, as plans for the UK’s departure from the European Union are developed.
Professor Buchan will assume his new role on 20 January 2017.
11 October 2016
Government announcement: Funding support for EU students
Clear and supportive Government guidance for prospective applicants from outside of the United Kingdom will be absolutely pivotal to Oxford’s success as a pre-eminent global institution in the years ahead.
Today’s Government announcement gives assurance in relation to student loans and grants for European Union students who commence study at Oxford in 2017-18. The University has already guaranteed that EU entrants in 2017-18 will pay UK tuition fees for the full duration of their courses.
We encourage the best and brightest from across the EU to apply to Oxford, and therefore welcome the Government’s announcement.
The full announcement can be found here.
2 September 2016
Oxford guarantees home fee rates for EU students starting in 2017/18 for their full course duration
EU students who begin their studies at Oxford University in 2017/18 will be charged the home rate for tuition fees for all years of their programme, the university can confirm.
Den Moore, director of student affairs at Oxford University, said: 'The result of the UK referendum has created a great deal of uncertainty for current and prospective Oxford students from the EU, particularly around possible changes to their tuition fee status. While the formal process for leaving the European Union will take some time, Oxford believes it is important to reassure prospective EU students by providing as much clarity about their future fee status as possible.
'The University of Oxford is and intends to remain a thriving, cosmopolitan community of scholars and students united in our commitment to education and research. The UK referendum result will not change this; our students from all across the world are as warmly welcome as ever.'
EU students intending to apply for entry in the academic years 2017/18, or holding an offer for deferred entry in 2017/18, will be charged the home rate for tuition fees for all years of their programme. The fees will be outlined in student offer letters and governed by the University's terms and conditions. Changes to fees and charges in subsequent years for on-course students who start in 2017/18 are set out on the Changes to Fees and Charges pages for undergraduate or graduate study.
Full information, including guidance on funding and student support, can be found at: www.ox.ac.uk/students/eureferendum
15 August 2016
Government statement on Horizon 2020 funding
The UK government has announced that it will support UK beneficiaries of EU research funding beyond the date the UK leaves the EU.
In a statement of 13 August, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “Where UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funding projects while we are still a member of the EU, for example universities participating in Horizon 2020, the Treasury will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.”
2 August 2016
From Trudy Coe, Head of the Equality and Diversity Unit
'There has been an unfortunate rise nationwide in reported incidents of racial abuse since the EU referendum result. We are also receiving some reports that these incidents are happening around the city. We are an inclusive, welcoming University and are committed to maintaining a diverse, international staff and student community. We do not tolerate any form of abuse on the grounds of race, religion or belief.
'If any member of staff – or student – experiences any form of racial or religiously motivated harassment or abuse from another member of the University, they should pursue it under the University's Harassment Policy and Procedure. If staff or students suffer racist or religiously motivated abuse outside the University, the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued helpful guidance on how to report it. Further guidance on reporting incidents, internally or externally, and on sources of support is available on the Equality and Diversity website.'
1 August 2016
From Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson, hosted a Q&A session for University staff on 21 July in the Sheldonian Theatre. In front of a large audience, she discussed issues arising from the EU referendum result, including support for residency and citizenship for staff, funding for and participation in EU research programmes, the impact on pensions, and diversity and culture. A transcript of the session is available for members of the University (via single sign-on).
14 July 2016
From Professor Ian Walmsley, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research
'The UK government and the European Commission are working hard to ensure that it is “business as usual” for UK universities. There is no immediate change to the UK university sector's ability to participate in EU research and innovation programmes such as Horizon 2020. This has been confirmed by Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science and by the EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation. The long term future of UK participation in European programmes will be decided as part of the exit negotiations and Oxford University is keeping a close eye on events. We will work directly and with others to seek the best possible outcomes for Higher Education and research during the negotiations, which are expected to take up to two years. The UK will remain an EU member during this time and as such will be entitled to fully participate in EU programmes and apply for EU research grants.
'Oxford academics, therefore, should continue to engage with our European colleagues and collaborators and continue to apply for grants as normal, both as individuals and as part of networks. We will provide regular updates on Research and Innovation matters on this page and more detailed information for researchers can be found on ‘Referendum Roundup’ page of the Oxford Gateway to Europe, managed by Research Services’ European Team. For the present we continue on course. There are no doubt challenges as we negotiate the new situation in which the country and University finds itself. But I am sure there will also be new opportunities of which we may take advantage.'
League of European Research Universities: Academic co-operation with the UK remains essential for Europe
Extracts from today's statement on research partnerships from the League of European Research Universities (LERU), which includes Oxford University.
'Academic collaboration improves lives in Europe and around the world. In the wake of the referendum, we strongly affirm that UK universities are, and will continue to be, indispensable collaborative partners. Universities in the UK and on the continent are working together to keep children safe from infections, develop treatments for Alzheimer's disease and cancer, and produce next generation mobile phone networks. As a partnership, LERU will do everything it can to support this co-operation.'
'LERU is therefore calling upon all its European partners, in particular universities, to continue to work with UK universities, respecting the ongoing full membership of the UK and the firm belief that the post-exit relationship must support academic co-operation. We call upon those who review funding applications to see the engagement of UK partners as a desirable feature of projects, rather than a risk or compromise. A pathway to stronger academic co-operation remains not only possible but very desirable. It is completely inappropriate to respond to the referendum by taking decisions that punish UK researchers, or disrupt partnerships.'
'In terms of eligibility for EU funding programmes, Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+, nothing has changed for the present. We welcome the strong commitments made by the European Commission, and Commissioner Carlos Moedas in particular, to respect the UK's ongoing status as a full member state. We also welcome the statement of Research Councils UK that they will work to ensure that the concerns and needs of UK researchers are considered in the negotiation of the future relationship. LERU institutions will continue to work together on Horizon 2020 programmes, in the UK and throughout Europe.'
The full LERU statement is here.
7 July 2016
Research Councils UK have released a statement on continuing international research collaboration
'The UK’s excellence in science and research is well established and UK researchers are sought after collaborators internationally. The success of UK research is dependent on our best researchers collaborating with partners and sharing facilities across international boundaries. We are committed to enabling and facilitating these collaborations between UK researchers and international partners in Europe and across the world. Following the UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union we are working with our research communities and with Government to ensure that the UK is well placed to maintain its place as a leading research nation. While the UK remains a full member of the European Union we encourage researchers to continue to engage with partners in the EU and with European funding schemes as normal. The Research Councils recognise that there is uncertainty about the future of the UK’s relationship with the EU in general and specifically affecting aspects of the research system. We are working with Government to ensure that the concerns and needs of UK researchers are represented and are considered in the negotiation of a future relationship with the EU.'
5 July 2016
Russell Group statement
The Chair and Director General of the Russell Group have issued a joint statement on the consequences of voting to leave the European Union
It is essential to remember that in terms of our global outlook nothing has changed - we have not yet left the EU and we are just as open and welcoming to students, staff and ideas as we were before the referendum.
Russell Group statement
'Leaving the EU will have a profound effect on our universities, who have long thrived on global collaboration and international interaction – be it through European staff and students coming to our universities, or when our best researchers work with colleagues across Europe to tackle big social and scientific challenges.
'Our universities have, therefore, always warmly welcomed people from different cultures, ethnicities and beliefs. Embracing this very diversity is vital to our success, fundamental to our values and enriches life on campus. So we are especially concerned by reports of increasing xenophobic incidents and how this could impact on our communities. We simply will not tolerate abuse of this sort and any student or staff member who experiences racism or xenophobia on or off our campuses can be assured this will be taken extremely seriously. Now more than ever we should ensure our campuses are places where diversity is welcomed, cherished and respected.
'It is essential to remember that in terms of our global outlook nothing has changed - we have not yet left the EU and we are just as open and welcoming to students, staff and ideas as we were before the referendum. We have already reassured current staff and students that their rights to work and study here will continue for the foreseeable future and we can still participate in cross-European collaborations and bid for EU funding. We are already working closely with the Government to ensure the best possible outcome from upcoming negotiations and UK policy decisions for universities and the research community.'
4 July 2016
There will be no immediate change to the fee status and immigration status of EU students studying in the UK.
EU students who are registered at Oxford University in 2016/17 (either as a new or continuing student) will continue to be charged the home rate for tuition fees for all subsequent years of their programme. Where EU students are in receipt of University funding, the University is committed to the provision of this support.
The Student Loans Company has also confirmed that eligible EU undergraduate students already on course, and eligible undergraduate and postgraduate EU students who are commencing an eligible course in the 2016/17 academic year, will be able to apply for student loan support for the duration of their course. Further information for EU students can be found here.
Science and Technology Committee
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee is examining the implications and opportunities of leaving the EU for science and research. The University proposes to respond to this inquiry and is encouraging Oxford colleagues to contribute ideas to assist drafting the submission. University members can provide comments, addressing one or more of the Committee's consultation questions, using the internal survey. Responses should be submitted no later than 4pm on Monday, July 18.
24 June 2016
Currently, UK membership enables staff and students from across the EU to come to Oxford, and assists Oxford's staff and students to work and study in Europe. The formal process for leaving the European Union will take at least two years. Our staff and students can be assured that in the short term, we anticipate no disruption to employment or study. As UK and EU negotiations advance, we will keep students, staff and potential applicants closely informed.
As UK and EU negotiations advance, we will keep students, staff and potential applicants closely informed.
EU membership has also enabled Oxford's participation in pan-European research collaborations, and has guaranteed the opportunity to access EU research funding (of some £66m in 2014/15). Research support teams will be actively reviewing funding bids, and we will take guidance from UK Government and relevant agencies on future eligibility and new opportunities.
UK membership of the EU has supported our broader vision for Oxford as a global hub for intellectual engagement. However, the University recognised that individuals held differing views, and encouraged open debate on the issues. A democratic decision has been made and Oxford will continue as one of the world’s outstanding universities, playing a leading role in shaping the UK's future.