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Universities in Britain face "significant challenges" following the nation's vote to leave the European Union, the President of Universities UK has warned.
Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said UUK's first priority will now be to convince the UK Government to takes steps to ensure that staff and students from EU countries can continue to work and study at British universities "and to promote the UK as a welcoming destination for the brightest and best minds".
UUK coordinated a sector-wide campaign backing the Remain camp, arguing that Brexit could damage British higher education interests at home and abroad, hampering its ability to access funding for research and making student and staff mobility more difficult. Professor Goodfellow said another priority will now be to secure opportunities for researchers and students to access vital pan-European programmes and build new global networks.
While the result is not the outcome UUK had hoped for, it must respect the decision of the electorate, she added.
"We should remember that leaving the EU will not happen overnight – there will be a gradual exit process with significant opportunities to seek assurances and influence future policy.
"Throughout the transition period our focus will be on securing support that allows our universities to continue to be global in their outlook, internationally networked and an attractive destination for talented people from across Europe. These features are central to ensuring that British universities continue to be the best in the world."
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