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"We will continue to be a globally engaged institution"

Vincenzo Raimo

Dear colleagues,

Today marks the date when the UK was scheduled to leave the European Union. It has been two years since the government triggered Article 50, but – as the events of this week indicate – it may be some time before we know what our future relationship with the European Union and its institutions will be.

This continuing uncertainty has been challenging for organisations like us, with a diverse staff and student body. At times, it has meant that we have been unable to provide clarity on important issues in the timely manner we would normally prefer.

However, we remain committed to sharing firm developments with you while continuing to work hard in the background with Universities UK to secure the best outcomes for our colleagues and students at Reading and across the sector.

So how will the next few days and weeks impact our activities? Most importantly, there will be no change to our international outlook. We will continue to be a globally engaged institution. We will continue to develop our teaching and research partnerships across the world. We will continue to bring together curious and capable minds and deliver teaching and research that helps them deliver a positive impact across national borders. We will continue to work on the diversity of our staff and student body, of which we are all proud.

We will also continue to update you on any firm developments. Here is what we know now:

  • Students (Tuition fees and Erasmus+) – EU and EEA students starting a course in and prior to 2019/20 will still be eligible for home fee status and financial support as per the existing rules. This will apply even in ‘no deal’ scenario. The UK government have promised to underwrite the Erasmus+ grants already in place so that students can complete current placements. The position of the UK’s future within Erasmus+ in a ‘no deal’ scenario is subject to the ongoing political discussions, but we are working with our Erasmus partners to limit any potential disruption. You can find more information on Brexit Student FAQs.
  • Staff and students (EU Settlement Scheme) – The scheme will fully open on 30 March. A pilot has been open since November 2018 allowing EU citizens and non-EU family members of EU citizens to apply and take part. Currently, an Android phone is required to apply (we have one each available with HR and Student Services if you do not have access to one personally), but this will change when the scheme opens fully as you will be able to send your identity document by post and also complete the application form online using any device (for example, an iPhone or laptop). The deadline for applying will be 30 June 2021, or 31 December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Information on the scheme on gov.uk website. You can find more information on Brexit: Information for staff and our dedicated Student webpage.
  • Research (UK participation in Horizon 2020) – Unless the UK leaves the EU, it remains a Member State and researchers can participate in all aspects of the Horizon 2020 programme. Under the Withdrawal Agreement, approved by the EU summit on 25 November 2018, UK maintains a Member State/Associated Country-like status with its participation in Horizon 2020 unaffected by EU exit. In the event of a ‘no deal’, the UK’s status will change from Member State to Third Country, and the UK’s Underwrite Guarantee will come into effect. The government will cover the funding for all UK participation in Horizon 2020 grants applied for or awarded prior to the leave date.  The guarantee will also cover successful UK grant applications for Horizon 2020 funding streams open to Third Country participation, which are submitted after the UK leaves the EU.  The guarantee would cover successful applications submitted up to the end of the Horizon 2020 programme and would cover the lifetime of projects. You can find more information at our Research and Enterprise website.

A Brexit Working Group including colleagues from across the University is working to prepare the institution for the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Brexit Group is meeting regularly in the coming weeks to ensure we are as well placed as we can be, to respond to developments as and when formal decisions are made by the government. A lot of work has already gone into identifying and managing the potential impact on current and future staff, student recruitment from other EU nations, student exchange arrangements, research collaborations, and the procurement of goods and services. I would like to extend my thanks to everyone involved with this extensive work and for the understanding of students and colleagues across the University during this period of uncertainty for us all.

Kind regards,

Enzo

Vincenzo Raimo

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement)

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