UCL and Brexit


UCL statements and strategic activity

Since the referendum, Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, has been a leading presence in policy stakeholder groups, media and public debate.

UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur
Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, has consistently argued for:
  • maintaining freedom of movement and minimal restrictions for EU academics, staff and students
  • retaining full access to and influence over EU research and innovation programmes
  • international students to be removed from the net migration figures

See below for UCL statements and other key strategic activities.

For statements about the EU referendum of key relevance to UCL, please refer to our external statements page


Provost's public statements

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Other key Provost's activities

  • In May 2018, UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, was appointed as a member of the board of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), a network of 23 leading European universities which plays a key role in representing the sector at the highest European levels.
  • The Provost chairs the EU Advisory Group of the Russell Group, which represents the UK’s 24 leading universities. As such, he plays a key role in a group that seeks to ensure that the interests of the sector are communicated at the highest level – in Westminster as well as in Brussels. Pro-Vice-Provost (Europe) Dr Uta Staiger is also a member of this group.
  • The Provost is a member of the government’s High Level Stakeholder Working Group on Brexit, universities, research and innovation, which is chaired by Universities Minister Sam Gyimah. The purpose of the group is to provide a monthly forum for government officials and representatives of the universities, science and research communities to discuss issues relating to Brexit and government policy. Professor Graeme Reid, Chair of Science and Research Policy at UCL, is also a member of this group.
  • UCL hosted the House of Commons Education Select Committee in January 2017, with Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, giving evidence on the impact of Brexit on Higher Education, highlighting the key concerns of UCL and the sector.
  • To inform and consult on these activities, the Provost chairs UCL’s Brexit Mitigation Group, a high-level working group that meets monthly to plan for and mitigate the impact of Brexit on UCL as an institution.


High level policy engagement

Engaging with government and parliament

  • UCL’s institutional response to Brexit is grounded in long-standing policy engagement with UK and EU authorities and organisations. In March 2017, Professor Michael Arthur and Sarah Chaytor, Director of Research Strategy & Policy at UCL’s Office of the Vice-Provost (Research), outlined in detail how UCL engages with government and parliament.
  • UCL regularly makes institutional submissions to parliament, coordinated by the OVPR. As well as hosting the House of Commons Education Committee, UCL has submitted written evidence on Brexit to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on multiple occasions, in addition to the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee, Education Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, and Migration Advisory Committee. Professor Graeme Reid was a Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee enquiry on the impact of Brexit on science and research. Many of these initiatives and relevant documents are listed on the UCL Brexit Hub.
  • Senior leaders and academics from across UCL regularly meet with high level representatives from government departments, parliament, the civil service and European embassies to discuss Brexit related policy in both public and closed settings. Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer MP, Foreign Office Europe Director Caroline Wilson, and Anna Soubry MP, all sit on the UCL European Institute Advisory Board.

Engaging with key sectoral organisations

  • To improve the policy environment for universities in the Brexit context, UCL also actively engages with key sectoral organisations, such as the Russell Group (particularly through its EU Advisory Group), Universities UK (especially UUK International), the Royal Society, Wellcome Trust, the CBI, and the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CASE).

Engaging at EU level

  • UCL is also active at EU level. Professor David Price, UCL’s Vice-Provost (Research), chairs the Committee of Vice-Rectors of Research of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). A network of 23 leading European universities, LERU plays a key role in representing the sector at the highest European levels. Michael Browne, Head of UCL’s European Research and Innovation Office, also has a leading role in LERU and the open research platform Vision2020.
  • From 1 January 2018, Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, became Special Advisor on Mission Driven Science and Innovation to EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas.
  • The IoE’s Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE) has received funding to investigate the implementation and consequences of Brexit for UK universities.