Vice-Chancellor's statement on the UK government's triggering of Article 50

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham

Today the Prime Minister has formally invoked Article 50, beginning the process of voluntary withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and marking the start of a two-year negotiation period. 

The University of Birmingham is a leading global ‘civic’ university and we will continue to nurture and value our European partnerships, collaborations and, most crucially, the contributions of our EU colleagues. Our international outlook is integral to who we are and the contribution of our talented EU staff is a vital part of this. 

Our university community welcomes international students and staff from more than 150 countries and, after Brexit, we will remain an ambitious, outward-looking university - both in relation to the EU and the wider world. 

The triggering of Article 50 does not lead to any immediate change to the immigration status of current EU students and staff, nor to current EU students’ loan eligibility or fee status. The University is committed to doing all that we can to support staff and students, and to help them navigate their way through the implications of the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. 

The University of Birmingham also continues to bid for funding under EU programmes. While the UK remains a full member of the European Union, there is no change to EU research funding and HM Treasury has guaranteed EU funding applied for before the UK leaves the EU. Funding is also guaranteed for projects that extend beyond the date of the UK departure from the EU. 

Nationally, we are working directly and with the Russell Group, Universities UK, and other organisations to put forward the strongest possible case for universities to the Government. We are calling for the UK’s continued engagement in EU research and innovation programmes. We are also asking for sustained academic and student mobility, including access to the EU programmes which support this. Above all, the University of Birmingham and the Higher Education sector is clear about the urgent priority that the Government needs to give to guarantee residency and work rights of EU citizens and their dependants currently working in the UK. 

We are committed to putting forward a strong voice to Government throughout the Brexit process to achieve the best possible outcomes for the University of Birmingham and our academic community.  

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham 

Analysis, comment and a guide to the University of Birmingham’s experts on Brexit is also available.