Messages from the Principal

Below you can read all messages sent to University staff by the Principal following the results of the EU Referendum in June 2016.

9 October 2018 - Brexit Update from the Principal

Dear Colleague,

With less than six months to go before the UK formally withdraws from the European Union I wanted to update you on what the University has been doing to mitigate the consequences of Brexit, and the support which we are giving to our non-UK EU members of staff.

Many of you will be aware of some of the articles that I have written in the press and statements that I have made on what I believe might be the implications of Brexit. As someone with dual UK/Italian citizenship I feel this on a personal level. As Principal of the University and also Chair of both the Russell Group and the Scottish Government’s Standing Council on Europe I can see the dangers for our sector, for our colleagues and friends who are EU nationals and for the wider economy and society that we serve and enhance.

I want to emphasise that we are doing everything in our power to inform both the UK and Scottish governments of our views and our concerns on the importance of Higher Education in the Brexit negotiations and in particular on securing the rights of our non-UK EU colleagues. We have been pressing for clarity on the Settlement Scheme process proposed for EU citizens in the UK, including how this will operate in the event of a no-deal.

I know that HR colleagues have been providing assistance and guidance and would urge anyone with any questions or concerns to talk to your local HR manager or seek information via the staff EU webpage at:

If you have a specific enquiry and would prefer to communicate by email, I would encourage you to write to

Once further details of the government’s Settlement Scheme are confirmed, if there are colleagues who wish to consider applying for settled status in the UK, I confirm that the University will also reimburse the £65 cost of making an application. I know that many of you have had the opportunity to meet our immigration lawyers on a one-to-one basis and your feedback has assisted us in understanding your concerns.

I do appreciate how upsetting and unsettling a time this has been for all colleagues and especially those who come from EU countries – around 14.5% of our staff and 24% of our researchers. It is important that you feel supported by the University. You are greatly valued for the skills and experience that you bring to Glasgow and the contribution that you make not just to the University but to Scotland and the UK.

We will continue to keep you informed as we move towards EU withdrawal next March.

Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

29 March 2017 - Principal on the triggering of Article 50

The Prime Minister has now formally triggered Article 50, starting the process which will lead to the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. The Principal, Professor Anton Muscatelli gives his views on what this means for the University.

Principal's message

The Principal’s interview comes as the Russell Group published an open letter calling for urgent assurances from ministers over the rights of citizens of other EU member states and reiterated the commitment of Russell Group universities to maintaining research ties with partners across Europe. The Principal will take over as Chair of the Russell Group in September. 

The text of the open letter is as follows:

Russell Group universities are international institutions with a global reputation for the quality of our teaching, research and collaborative relationships. Leaving the EU will not change this.

Universities have a key role to play in building a stronger UK economy in years to come. Our members will always remain open to new ideas and talent from across the world. 

We recognise the triggering of Article 50 will cause further concern for staff and students from other member states who are living and working in the UK. 

Our message today to European citizens based at our institutions is clear and unambiguous. Students, lecturers, researchers and professional services staff from across Europe have helped make our higher education sector a world leader. We value your contribution to our universities and the UK. We want you and your families to stay after the UK leaves the EU and are working to ensure you have the right to do so. 

In the meantime, we will remain part of the EU until the Article 50 process is complete. You still have the right to live and work in the UK. The announcement today changes nothing in that regard.

The Government has stated no long-term deal on the rights of EU citizens who are resident in the UK at present would be possible until after Article 50 talks began. With negotiations now underway, we urge the Prime Minister to guarantee that EU citizens living and working in the UK will be able to stay and the rights they have at present will be respected. This should be confirmed as soon as possible.

To our European partners, we reiterate that UK universities will continue to be eligible for Horizon 2020 funding until the end of the Article 50 process. The UK Government has already guaranteed to underwrite the payments of awards won whilst the UK is still a member of the EU, even when specific projects continue after Brexit. 

Russell Group universities and our partners across the EU have achieved an enormous amount together. Brexit will not mean an end to this international collaboration. Whether through framework programmes or other arrangements, collaboration will continue.

We will continue to work closely with our Government as the Article 50 process continues.

28 July 2016 - Government Statement Confirming No Immediate Change of Rights for EU Citizens

Dear Colleague/Student
I refer to my earlier message following the outcome of the EU Referendum in which I acknowledged the extent to which we value the contribution of our staff and students from the EU to the University, and how much we appreciate the vital part you play in our community. One month on, although there remain many questions to be addressed, I want to reinforce my assurances that there will be no immediate impact or change in the immigration status of current and prospective students and staff from the EU.
The UK government recently released a statement confirming that there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum. Further, they have confirmed that when the UK does leave the EU it is fully expected that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK will be properly protected.
In summary the statement confirms:

  • EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully in the UK for at least 5 years automatically have a permanent right to reside and there is no requirement to register for documentation to confirm this status. EU nationals who have lived continuously and lawfully for at least 6 years are eligible to apply for British citizenship:
  • EU nationals do not need to register for any documentation in order to enjoy their free movement rights and responsibilities. For those who decide to apply for a registration certificate, there has been no change to government policy or processes. Similarly, the process for non-EU or extended family members remain unchanged.
  • The government recognises and values the important contribution made by EU and other non-UK citizens who work, study and live in the UK.

For the full statement please visit:
The Scottish Government and Universities Scotland have also released a joint statement, reinforcing these messages and highlighting the major contribution of researchers from the EU to Scotland’s excellent research as well as to our economy, society and culture.
The full statement can be found here:
For now, the University will be closely monitoring the situation and any further developments that transpire. We will continue to keep you informed if there are changes in policy and to provide regular updates to staff and students throughout this process.
Best regards
Professor Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

5 July 2016 - Standing Council and Government/ Universities UK Statement

Dear Colleague / Student

Shortly after the EU Referendum decision on 23 June, I wrote to you to let you know that the University was already hard at work assessing the impact of the decision to leave the European Union.

We know this will be a long and complicated process as the political consequences in the UK are realised and the many months of negotiations with the EU get underway.

The University is determined that our voice will be heard in the discussions and negotiations that are now starting to take place. As you may have seen, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, has asked me to chair a group of experts to advise the Scottish Government on securing Scotland’s relationship with the EU. The Standing Council on Europe comprises specialists in legal, financial, business and diplomatic matters.

I am also working hard to ensure that the University of Glasgow joins with others in the Scottish and UK Higher Education sector to influence the outcome of the negotiations. A senior Universities UK delegation is in Brussels at the moment, seeking further clarification from the European Commission on a range of key issues, including how the UK Government, the sector and the European Commission can work together to tackle the uncertainty regarding UK participation in research consortia.

Universities UK is continually updating information on their website and has created a ‘BREXIT FAQs’ page which you may find useful.

We welcome the joint statement from the Scottish Government and Universities Scotland reassuring EU students in Scotland that they will continue to benefit from free tuition and associated support for the duration of their course. Free tuition will also continue for EU students preparing to start their studies in Scotland this year. You can find the statement on the Scottish Government website and also on the Universities Scotland website.

Finally, I want to repeat what I said on the day after the leave vote: the University of Glasgow places great value on the contribution that our colleagues and students from the EU make to our community. You are a vital and essential part of our University. The University of Glasgow was founded in the European tradition, and nothing will change our international outlook which will continue to look to Europe for our academic collaborations.

Best wishes

Professor Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

24 June 2016 - Initial Statement

The EU referendum resulted in a narrow but clear decision for the UK to leave the European Union. This is not the result that I had personally hoped for, but I want you to know that nothing will change overnight.

There will be many months of negotiations under the EU treaties, and indeed there is no clarity yet on when negotiations will begin. There will be significant opportunities for the University of Glasgow to seek assurances and influence future policy, both as an institution in our own right and as a member of organisations such as the Russell Group, Universities UK and Universities Scotland.

EU Students who have been made an offer for 2016 (or 2017 deferred entry) will be unaffected. Given the complexity of exit negotiations it is unlikely that the current process and funding arrangements will change significantly in the short term. We are therefore encouraging those who are considering applying for 2017 entry to do so in the usual way, and we will keep all applicants informed if there are changes in policy.

I want to emphasise to my colleagues and to our students from the EU just how much this University values your contribution to our community. You are a vital and essential part of our University. The University of Glasgow was founded in the European tradition, and nothing will change our international outlook which will continue to look to Europe for our academic collaborations. 

There are obviously many questions to be addressed, not least with regard to research funding and current and future academic collaborations. Barring any unilateral action from the UK Government the ‘Leave’ vote will also have no immediate impact on the immigration status of European Union current and prospective students and staff. There will also be no immediate impact on the UK as a full member of Horizon 2020 and Erasmus. 

Please be assured that I, and my senior team, will be doing all that we can to ensure that the University of Glasgow’s voice is heard in these discussions and that I will continue to provide updates to staff and students throughout this process.

Professor Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

28 August 2016 - EU Funding Update

Dear Colleagues

Over the weekend the United Kingdom government made an important announcement on funding. The Chancellor Philip Hammond gave a commitment that the Treasury would guarantee to back EU funded projects, including underwriting the value of any European grants awarded to UK researchers.

Full details of the announcement can be found here:

This is a welcome development which provides a degree of certainty that research will be fully funded for the entire duration of any EU grant that has been awarded.

However considerable issues remain both on longer term funding and on how vital collaborations with our European partners and colleagues might be protected post Brexit.

I wanted you to know that we are doing all that we can to ensure that the voice of the University of Glasgow is understood at all levels of government.

Last week the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel MP, was on campus meeting senior members of staff and heard directly of our concerns over funding, academic collaborations and freedom of movement for students and staff.  We were pleased that the University of Glasgow was chosen to host the first visit of a Cabinet Minister to Scotland since the EU referendum.

We have regular interaction with the Scottish Government, again to ensure that the interests of Higher Education in general, and the University of Glasgow in particular, are known and understood. In a speech delivered to the Institute of Public Policy Research in July, the First Minister was very clear on her desire to ensure important EU links, including those enjoyed by universities, are protected during the negotiations to come.

We will continue to work with both the Westminster and Holyrood governments, making your views and concerns heard at the very highest level.

The University of Glasgow and Europe

The first of what will be a series of open-forums for staff and students will take place in the Kelvin Gallery at 1pm on 25 August. This is an opportunity for you to make comment or ask questions of me, my senior team and the President of the SRC. I appreciate that not everyone will be able to attend but I felt it important that we provided this opportunity as early as possible. The session will be recorded and will be made available on the University's MyGlasgow site. You can also email questions to me in advance:

You can register for the staff forum via the Eventbrite website.

The period ahead will be challenging for all of us, but as I outlined in my first communication immediately after the vote on 23 June, the University of Glasgow was founded in the European tradition and nothing will change our international outlook or our commitment to collaborative, world leading research and teaching.

Further details on the open forum on 25 August will be outlined in tomorrow’s Campus e-News. Future events will be announced in due course and I will continue to provide regular updates on what is being done to ensure that your views and the position of the University of Glasgow are heard in the important months ahead.

Best wishes
Professor Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Universities and Colleges Joint Statement on Brexit

Universities and Colleges Issue Joint Statement on Brexit - November 2018

Colleges, universities, trade unions and the Scottish Government have agreed a united approach to protect Scotland from the worst effects of Brexit, and issued a statement outlining how they will press the UK government to reintroduce a Post Study Work Visa in Scotland, continue research collaboration and safeguard education relationships with Europe. The statement can be viewed here: Universities and Colleges Issue Joint Statement on Brexit