EU update from the Principal

Dear Colleagues

Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union, we agreed at Senior Management Group that I should update members of staff on the current situation and the actions we are taking in this regard.

Research and exchange programmes

We continue to lobby the UK and Scottish governments and their agencies with a view to preserving the closest possible links with EU research programmes. This argument is accepted by almost all parties, but in the event of a no-deal withdrawal from the EU, it is likely that UK universities will be excluded from EU programmes, at least temporarily. If this happens, we will strive to maintain Glasgow’s position as an international University with strong ties in Europe through bilateral arrangements and broader partnerships.

Tuition fees, visas and funding issues

For the purposes of tuition fees, students from other EU countries who begin their studies in 2019 and 2020 will be treated in the same way as home students for the duration of their degree programmes. We do not yet know what the position will be for EU students who begin degree programmes after 2020.

As far as visas are concerned, the UK government has indicated that post-Brexit, students from EU countries will be able to apply for three-year study visas. We have made clear that longer study visas are essential to cater for Scottish undergraduate degrees, which are typically four-year programmes.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Scottish government will no longer be obliged to grant entry for EU students to Scottish undergraduate programmes on a no-fees basis. Together with other Scottish universities, we continue to argue that the funds previously allocated to supporting EU undergraduate students in Scotland should remain within the sector.

Whatever the funding regime, we will work hard to attract both undergraduate and postgraduate students from EU countries. With this in mind, we have allocated some additional resource to enhance our student recruitment capability in Europe.

With regard to the Erasmus+ student mobility programme, the UK government has announced that it will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ bids submitted before the end of 2020. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, resulting in a loss of EU funding for Erasmus+ projects, the University will be able to make a claim against the UK government’s guarantee. As with research programmes, we are lobbying for maximum involvement in European mobility programmes post-Brexit.

Glasgow is also involved in a range of Erasmus Mundus programmes with partners in other EU countries. The EU has confirmed that any Erasmus Mundus scholarship-holders who have started their joint programme prior to the date of a no-deal Brexit will be able to complete their entire Masters/Doctoral programme, including any ongoing or planned future study at a UK higher education institution in the consortium. This will apply to all students who are mobile on the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, including:

a) Students who are already in the UK on 1 November 2019;
b) Students whose mobility track will take them to a UK HEI at some later point in their Erasmus Mundus programme;
c) UK nationals who are mobile with an Erasmus Mundus scholarship in any partner.


EU staff make up nearly 15% of our total workforce; they are a vital part of our community and we are committed to doing everything possible to support them.

Members of staff who are EU nationals may now apply for the right to remain under the EU settlement scheme. Advice on how to apply is available on the University website.

In addition, it seems highly likely that the UK government will unilaterally grant EU citizens who are already resident in the UK the automatic right to remain – we welcome this commitment.

Looking ahead, regardless of the outcome of the next round of negotiations between the UK and the EU, we will continue to encourage applications for posts from EU nationals at all levels. Our position remains that barriers to migration should be as low as possible – as a University with a global reputation, we must be able to attract talented people to join our diverse, inclusive community, regardless of nationality.


The situation regarding international travel remains unchanged and the advice on the University website remains pertinent. There may be disruption depending on the way negotiations unfold in the coming weeks – we will update members of staff and students as more information becomes available.


The University has been preparing for some months for potential disruption to supplies in the event of a no-deal withdrawal from the EU. While there is limited action we can take regarding products with a short shelf-life, we are as ready as we can be for this eventuality.

In conclusion, I fully appreciate the anxiety that the present state of uncertainty may be causing individuals. The University of Glasgow stands with staff and students who may be adversely affected by these events and will take all possible steps to support every member of our community. More generally, we are committed to being an open, inclusive, internationally-minded, European university with the strongest possible ties to partners in other European countries. I am confident that the University is well placed to deal with any challenges that may arise.
With best wishes

Sir Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice Chancellor



First published: 22 July 2019