Statement from Professor Sir Ian Diamond, University of Aberdeen Principal.
As Article 50 is triggered, we will continue to impress upon the UK and Scottish Governments the importance for both the present and future economy and social cohesion of our country of a strong higher education sector.
To help ensure this we continue to stress the urgent need to provide clarity and reassurance to Britain’s Higher Education sector. Although many aspects of Britain’s exit from the EU are still uncertain, I believe that, with a will from all sides, it will be possible for our University to thrive.
Rest assured that we are working with Universities UK and Universities Scotland to lobby the UK Government and the Scottish Government to achieve a resolution to the key outstanding issues.
First, I have been making it very clear that residency rights and the free movement of talent is vital. The arguments we are making at government-level are about a better immigration policy for all our staff and students, whether they are from the EU or the rest of the world. In the meantime, if you or your colleagues need support in any way then our HR team are very happy to help, and please be assured that this University regards all our international staff and students as absolutely central to the Aberdeen family.
Second, I welcome last week’s announcement by the Scottish Government that EU nationals enrolling in 2018-19 have been guaranteed free tuition for the duration of their entire course. This is important as our potential students are starting to make their decisions and this early announcement is very helpful.
Third, we will continue to lobby on the importance of being a member of the European Research Area where funding is dictated on the grounds of excellence; and that we encourage the European Research Area to expand.
Finally, I have made the point widely that in the remaining time that we are members of the EU, we need to do all we can to influence the next framework programme. We will strive to reach a solution that means we can continue to attract the very best student and academic talent to the University.