Statement on the day that Britain triggers Article 50 to leave the EU

Wednesday, 29 March 2017 will see the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. This will signify the formal start of the two-year negotiation for the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Responding to the official start of Brexit negotiations, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said:

“On the day that the UK Government triggers Article 50 to begin the process to leave the EU we want to take the opportunity to reaffirm the value that Scotland’s higher education institutions place on the contribution of our EU staff and students. You are our colleagues and our friends and it is your contribution to teaching, to research and other services as well as to student life that makes our universities places of excellence.

“Working to secure reassurances on rights to reside and work for our EU students and staff will continue to be a top priority for us in the negotiations. Our staff deserve that certainty. We want our existing EU staff and their dependents to have the peace of mind to know they can continue to work in the UK and access public services for themselves and their families.

“More generally, Europe has been and always will be a very important research and exchange partner for Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions. Keeping our research links with partners across the EU will be essential to continuing, and building on, the world-class nature of Scottish research. We also want to ensure that opportunities for outward mobility for staff and students, through programmes like Erasmus, will continue. We know from many different sources that our desire to continue these partnerships is reciprocated.”


Universities Scotland’s priorities in the Brexit negotiations can be found here. Last week we welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that the fee status of EU undergraduates starting courses in academic year 2018/19 would not change. Find our response here.

Our Director has also given evidence on the implications of Brexit on the sector in Scotland to the Education Select Committee:

You can find a set of FAQs relating to Brexit on Universities UK’s website.