UK has today published a collection
of case studies highlighting the research and stories of leading EU
academics working in UK universities. They illustrate the world-class research
carried out by European staff in the UK and how this could be hindered by any
further Brexit uncertainty.
(33,735) of academic staff and 6% (12,490) of professional services staff at UK
universities are from other EU countries. Many European academics and
researchers are often employed in strategically important and vulnerable areas
such as STEM subjects – science, engineering or technology and mathematics –
and other highly skilled areas such as economics and modern languages.
comments come ahead of the summit of EU leaders in mid-December (14–15 Dec) at
which they will decide whether sufficient progress has been made to allow the
Brexit negotiations to move to issues such as trade and future relations.
on the case studies, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK,
said: “There are over 46,000 EU nationals working in UK universities and they
make a vitally important contribution to our work. Many are top researchers
leading the world in their fields, working in vital areas such as public health
and climate change. They and their families deserve certainty about their
futures in the UK.
is now a need to make sure that a reshaped, post-Brexit immigration system
encourages talented international university staff to choose the UK. If
not, we risk losing them to competitor countries.
is also urgent need for clarity on the UK’s participation in Horizon 2020, the
EU’s programme for research and innovation, beyond Brexit. This scheme
enhances the impact of our research by providing access to vital networks,
funding and talent. We have recently seen the UK’s participation and
success rate fall due to uncertainty about future participation.”
Simona Francese, Sheffield Hallam University. World leading
fingerprint analysis expert
Francese is originally from Italy and has worked in the UK for 10
“Working with the Home Office has allowed me to apply my research to real
life problems with considerable impact. There are no guarantees my research
will be funded after Brexit.
love and miss my country, but I am also very loyal to the UK. My hard work is a
form of payback for the life that I have had here. Brexit has inevitably
triggered unpleasant feelings of not being wanted, but I can never and will
never forget all that the UK has offered me.”
Swenja Surminski, London School of Economics. World leader in climate change
and flood risk
Surminski has spent 17 years in the UK and is originally from Germany.
“Since my arrival in the UK I felt integrated and my German nationality
didn’t really seem to matter. In fact, there were many occasions when I
represented UK businesses in UK government discussions. For me, the real value
arises from the impact that our research has, using our analysis to influence
those who make decisions about the climate.
also play a role in our local communities, beyond our work and are rooted here
through our families. My husband is also German and so are our four children,
who were all born in the UK and feel at home here.”
Dijk has worked in the UK for 18 years and is originally from The Netherlands.
“I decided to work in the UK because of its reputation for social justice,
free movement and its scientific research reputation. Brexit means that this
sense of security and being part of the European academic community is
destroyed. As a non-UK EU citizen, I felt equal. As a ‘settler’, I and my
family will no longer feel so.”
to the latest data (HESA), there are 46,000 European (European Economic
Area (EEA)) nationals employed by UK universities and 32,000 non-EEA
means that 17% (33,735) of academic staff and 6% (12,490) of professional
services staff at UK universities are from other EU countries.
2015–16, 59% of EEA staff worked in departments defined by the Higher
Education Statistics Agency (HESA) as science, engineering, technology and
mathematics (their equivalent of STEM). There are also high concentrations
of EEA staff in demand and growth subjects such as economics and
econometrics (36%) and modern languages (36%).
nationalities often make up a high proportion of the EEA nationals working
as academics in specific departments:
Italian nationals make up 28% of all EEA academics working in
German nationals make up 25% of all EEA academics working in
Politics and International Studies departments
Italian nationals make up 24% and Greek and German
nationals 21% each of all EEA academics working in Classics departments
French nationals make up 22% and Spanish nationals 21% of
all EEA academics working in Modern Languages departments
Spanish nationals make up 20% of EEA academics working in
well as academic roles, a significant number of European nationals also
work in professional services roles, including IT workers, finance,
marketing, HR, catering, security, librarians, administration, alumni
developments and technical staff.
UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded
in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in
the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to its members to
promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 136 members and offices in London, Cardiff (Universities
Wales) and Edinburgh (Universities
Scotland), it promotes the strength and
success of UK universities nationally and internationally. Visit: www.universitiesuk.ac.uk