Universities UK and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands sign a joint statement of cooperation

25 September 2017

Universities UK (UUK) and the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) have signed a joint statement agreeing on the need for continued collaboration when the UK leaves the European Union.

Universities UK International's chair, Professor Sir Steve Smith signed the agreement on the behalf of the UK. Karl Dittrich, president of VSNU, signed on for the Dutch higher education sector.

Higher education in both the Netherlands and the UK is characterised by high levels of international collaboration and mobility. Historically, the two countries have had a strong bilateral partnership, especially in relation to research and innovation.

Between 2011 and 2015, scientists from both countries co-authored over 35,000 papers. Additionally, there are currently 1,085 active projects funded by the Horizon 2020 research programme that organisations from the UK and the Netherlands are collaborating on.

The declaration between UUK and VSNU aims to maintain successful mutual partnerships between British and Dutch universities post-Brexit. Both parties have agreed to:

  • Call on their governments to take action to implement an attractive immigration regime, to protect existing research projects and increase the investment in science programmes.
  • Facilitate networking between UK and Dutch universities
  • Preserve and strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the Netherlands and the UK with strong bilateral ties.
  • Increase staff and student mobility by taking measures to ensure the UK has continued access to European programmes such as Horizon 2020, FP9 and Erasmus+.
  • Develop more joint programmes including long-term international joint degrees and stimulating multilateral relations.

The declaration was signed in The Hague.

 

Professor Smith comments that 'International research collaboration through the EU Framework Programmes is essential, not only for universities, but also for our societies as a whole. These programmes allow the best researchers from all over Europe to cooperate and tackle grand societal challenges. Challenges that could not be addressed on a national level, such as developing cures for rare diseases. The Netherlands is one of UK's most frequent collaborating partners in research, and continuing that level of collaboration is crucial for our institutions.'

Karl Dittrich says: 'Maintaining close collaboration between UK and Dutch universities is crucial. Not only for the students and researchers involved, but also for the development of new scientific knowledge.'

The signed declaration is available here.

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