Universities report post-Brexit backlash from European partners


Top British universities say they have already faced problems working with European partners following the Brexit referendum result.

Academics said they had been asked to leave EU-funded projects or pull out of leadership roles.

In a confidential survey by the Guardian of Russell Group universities, reports of the backlash came from across the natural sciences, the engineering disciplines and social sciences.

The Wills Memorial Building, also known as the Wills Memorial Tower or simply the Wills Tower, Queens Road, Bristol.
The department of Earth Sciences at Bristol, a Russell Group university (Ben Birchall/PA)

The Russell Group is made up of the UK's 24 leading universities which have a commitment to high-class research.

Before the referendum, leading scientists and academics had warned that leaving the EU would cause a major funding blow to British universities and scientific research.

Anecdotes reported as part of the survey include an EU project officer recommending that all UK partners be dropped from research groups because their share of the funding was not guaranteed, according to the Guardian.

Remain supporters gather in Parliament Square, London, to take part in the March for Europe rally to to show their support for the European Union in the wake of Brexit.
There's been worry over how leaving the EU will affect science and research funding (Jonathan Brady/PA)

In another case, a university reported that two social science collaborations with Dutch universities had been told partners from the UK were not welcome.

One university said that there had been "a substantial increase in definitive evidence" that EU projects were reluctant to collaborate with British partners.

Not all universities in the group responded to the survey and not all of those that submitted responses reported discrimination.