Professor Aldwyn Cooper, Vice Chancellor of Regent’s University London, has added his signature to an open letter published in The Sunday Times, highlighting how UK membership of the European Union enhances the positive impact of universities on Britain’s economy.
The letter, published on 21st February 2016, is supported by over 100 UK university leaders who jointly ‘urge the British public to consider the vital role the EU plays in supporting world-class universities.’
Highlighting the positive impact of the EU for collaboration and support in cutting edge research, the signatories also argue that ‘in the EU, the UK is a more attractive destination for global talent, ensuring that students are taught by the best minds from across Europe.’
The university leaders warn that leaving would mean ‘cutting ourselves off from unique support and established networks and undermine the UK’s position as a global leader in science, arts and innovation.’
Making clear their strong support for EU membership, the vice-chancellors write that they ‘are committed to highlighting the value of EU membership to universities, ensuring that a range of views are heard on campuses and debating why the EU matters to the British people.’
Commenting following the Prime Minister’s announcement of the EU referendum date on 23 June 2016, Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said:
“Inside the EU, our outstanding British universities are even stronger. EU membership enhances university research and education which, in turn, benefits the British people.
“Membership of the EU is good for our universities, good for British students who benefit from being taught by the best minds from across Europe, and good for the science and research that improves people’s lives.”
Professor Cooper notes:
“Since the EU is the largest single market in the world and one of the most powerful economic bodies, it is unlikely that the UK could gain such favourable agreements in isolation.
“The UK has long been used to being a leader in global politics and education. It is difficult to believe that anyone with significant influence and responsibility in society would wish to retreat from such an enviable position.
“Universities must be engaged fully in the communities in which they operate. They have a responsibility not only for local higher education and international collaboration, but for a wider contribution to society as a whole and BREXIT can damage the quality of life for everybody in the UK.”