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University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood

University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood has today joined his West Midlands counterparts in calling on the Government to support higher education institutions during Brexit negotiations with the European Union.

In an open letter, addressed to Universities Minister Jo Johnson, Vice-Chancellors at Birmingham, Aston, Birmingham City, Coventry, Warwick and Wolverhampton Universities asked Government to “prioritise the needs of the world-class universities in the West Midlands”.

Specifically, the letter asks Government to:

  • Protect the rights of EU and UK students and staff, to study and work at European and UK universities
  • Make it easier and faster for the best and brightest students to study in the West Midlands
  • Guarantee funding opportunities for West Midlands universities

The University of Birmingham contributes £3.5 billion to the UK economy every year – enough to build seven flagship hospitals or 140 new secondary schools – according to recent research carried out by London Economics.

Professor Sir David Eastwood said: “The University of Birmingham is not only a major economic force in the West Midlands region, but also nationally and internationally. We are building talent and skills in the region and almost one in 50 jobs in Birmingham depend on the University.

“The University plays a significant part in attracting international visitors to the region, with our international students alone contributing more than £160 million to the economy. We are extremely committed to the region and contributing to its economic, social and cultural success.”

There currently are 8,000 EU students and around 5,000 EU academics at West Midlands universities, and 1,500 students from West Midlands universities in Europe through the Erasmus+ programme.

The letter urges Ministers to ensure no additional barriers are raised for students and staff moving between EU countries and the UK for teaching and study, and to prioritise continued UK participation in Erasmus+ programmes in negotiations with the European Union.

Non-EU international students are worth over £400 million per year to the city of Birmingham alone, and EU research funding for West Midlands universities totalled over £100 million over the last three years.

For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. Out-of-hours enquiries: +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries.

A copy of Our Impact: The Economic, Social and Cultural Impact of the University of Birmingham is available here. Highlights of the report include:

  • With 7,200 staff in the 2014-15 academic year, it is one of the most significant employers in the region and supports 15,545 jobs in the West Midlands region
  • The University has 34,160 students, more than 100,000 online learners and 300,000 alumni across the globe.
  • Eight additional undergraduate international students would bring a further £1 million to the UK economy during their three years at Birmingham
  • More than 22,000 pupils participate in the University’s schools outreach activity each year. 80% of its student are from state schools and 23% from lower socio-economic backgrounds
  • More than 262,000 people attended public events at the University in 2014-15 and more than 6,000 students volunteered their time
  • In 2014-15 the University supports its students and graduates to start more than 50 new businesses
  • Almost 1,700 people who completed a programme with the University in 2014-15 now work in the healthcare sector