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Brexit - Information for staff

What is the university doing to plan for Brexit?

We’ve formed an action group comprising senior academic and professional services colleagues, including the Deputy Principal, Professor Garry Taylor.

The working group will:

  • Lead communications with our staff and students on the implications of Brexit to ensure colleagues, current students and prospective students are kept fully informed of any changes likely to affect them.
  • Advise the PO on challenges and opportunities likely to arise from Brexit, model scenarios which might impact fees, funding, research bids and immigration statuses and advise on changes which may be required to the university Strategic Plan.
  • Listen closely to the concerns, ideas and experiences of our staff and students to ensure these inform our planning, lobbying and communications.
  • Lead lobbying of the UK and Scottish Governments and the EU to ensure the voices of St Andrews staff and students are heard at the highest levels of Brexit decision-making.

How do I contact or contribute to the action group?

You can email us at or contact any of the group members:

Professor Garry Taylor, Deputy Principal
Professor Brad MacKay, School of Management
Professor Ineke De Moortel, School of Mathematics and Statistics
Julie Ramsay, Director of Admissions
Ester Ruskuc, Academic Registrar
Andy Goor, Finance Director
Helen Reddy, Director of Research Strategy, Policy and Support
Niall Scott, Director of Communications

Should I still apply for European Union research funding? 

Yes. The UK Government has stated that the result of the referendum has no immediate effect on those applying to or participating in Horizon 2020, or those whose research proposals are currently being considered. UK researchers and businesses should continue to apply to the programme in the normal way.

We expect that the future of UK access to European research and innovation funding after the UK has left the EU will be a matter for detailed discussions and a key negotiating point for the UK Government once it formally signals its intention to take the UK out of the EU.

Along with other Scottish and UK universities, St Andrews will lobby strongly on the importance of maintaining access to the European research sector and viable funding streams, and the benefits to Europe of continued links with high-quality, research-active centres like St Andrews.

The UK Government has said that it is “determined to ensure that the UK continues to play a leading role in European and international research and innovation”.

There have been some reports that UK academics are already experiencing a post-referendum bias when applying for funding with European partners. Is this happening in St Andrews? 

There is evidence that this is happening not just in St Andrews, but across the UK higher education sector. Our Research Policy Office (RPO) is compiling a body of evidence from our Schools and we will ensure that this is presented in our lobbying of the UK and Scottish governments, funding bodies and other appropriate authorities. If you believe you have experienced this sort of bias or are aware of examples, please ensure your School is aware. You can also inform RPO.

What should I do if I encounter discrimination or difficulties with EU grants?

We’re relying on our colleagues for the best intelligence and would encourage you to let us know if this happens to you or if you hear of it happening to colleagues. Please always make sure that you inform your line manager and/or your Head of School.

What will Brexit mean for our EU staff and colleagues from overseas?

We are acutely sensitive to the feelings and concerns of our EU and overseas staff and it will be a priority for this university to respond with reassurance and timely, accurate information. St Andrews has flourished for six centuries precisely because it has always welcomed scholars and staff from afar and grown stronger for being a truly international community – and that will continue to be the case. The UK Government is being pressed by Universities UK and many others to make a clear statement that all EU nationals living and working here are welcome, and that any changes to immigration rules will only apply to new entrants to the UK. We have added our voice to those calls and will continue to do so until we have a clear decision from the UK Government.

How does the referendum result affect our students and prospective students from the EU?

St Andrews has given a firm assurance that fees and support arrangements for our current students, offer holders from the EU and prospective EU students considering entry to St Andrews in 2017 will NOT be affected. Where the University makes an arrangement with a student, it will honour it for the duration of the course.

We have published advice and reassurance for students and written to our offer holders.

Will the UK continue to participate in the Erasmus programme?

There is no immediate change to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme following the EU referendum result and the UK National Agency will continue to manage and deliver the programme across the UK. All participants and beneficiaries should continue with their Erasmus+ funded activities and preparation for the published application deadlines in 2016 and 2017.

This position is supported by the statement from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, published on 28 June 2016. The Minister’s statement also outlines some initial information regarding the UK’s future access to the Erasmus+ programme and we will update all those involved in the programme when further information becomes available.

Useful resources

Joint statement from Universities Scotland and the Scottish Government on the outcome of the EU Referendum

Joint statement from Universities Scotland and the Scottish Government on EU and international research collaborations

Universities UK Brexit FAQs for universities and students

Times Higher on Brexit – news and views in one place

No evidence of Brexit penalties – Royal Society President