Brexit må føre til mer studentutveksling og forskningssamarbeid i Europa – ikke mindre

Det er med det europeiske forsknings- og utdanningssamarbeidet som med alt annet: Det er først når det trues at man ser verdien av det. I kjølvannet av den britiske folkeavstemningen er det skrevet og tenkt mye rundt hvilke konsekvenser en Brexit vil ha for internasjonaliseringen av forskning og utdanning i Europa. Både i og utenfor Storbritannia er holdningen utvetydig: Samarbeidet må fortsette og utvikles videre. Vi har simpelt hen ikke råd til å la være.

Allerede dagen etter folkeavstemningen den 23. juni publiserte The Russell Group – en sammenslutning av ledende britiske universiteter – følgende uttalelse:

“Leaving the European Union creates significant uncertainty for our leading universities but we will work with the Government to minimise any disruption caused by this decision. Throughout the campaign both sides acknowledged the value of EU funding to our universities and we will be seeking assurances from the Government that this will be replaced and sustained long term. (http://russellgroup.ac.uk/news/eu-referendum-result/)

Tilsvarende holdning finnner vi i Europa forøvrig. Samme dag som The Russell Group publiserte sin uttalelse, kom følgende erklæring fra The European University Association (EUA), som har over 800 medlemsinstitusjoner spredt over hele kontinentet:

«EUA shares the disappointment over the result with its member UUK and the British university community. EUA is very concerned about the insecurity this causes, notably with regard to the participation of British universities in the EU funding programmes as well as the long-term consequences for European cooperation in research and education». 

EUAs erklæring hadde tittelen Despite Brexit, UK universities remain part of European family.

Beskjeden fra Storbritannia og resten av Europa til myndigheter og politiske beslutningstagere er at forskning og utdanning må få høy prioritet i de kommende overlegningene og forhandlingene. Usikkerhet er som gift å regne for forskere som skal etablere nettverk med tanke på EU-finansiering, og for studenter som skal legge planer for utveksling gjennom Erasmus Plus eller andre programmer. Usikkerheten må ikke underminere den bærende idéen om at et tett forsknings- og utdanningssamarbeid i Europa gagner oss alle.    

Nå er det gått over en måned siden folkeavstemningen fant sted. Uttalelser fra politisk hold har redusert usikkerheten noe, men ikke nok. Det nyetablerte universitetsnettverket The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities – som jeg er styreleder for – har derfor publisert en ny erklæring som understreker behovet for å satse videre på forsknings- og utdanningssamarbeidet i Europa:  

The Guild’s Call for Enhanced Collaboration across European Universities

Over the past few weeks, evidence has been mounting that the UK’s referendum result on BREXIT has begun to undermine collaborative research through a decline in joint funding applications involving UK partners. Meanwhile, uncertainty around future fee arrangements for EU students and student exchange arrangements are detrimental to student mobility to the UK. In short:

A core strength of Europe, the free circulation of ideas, of researchers, and of students, is being undermined: this will be to the long-term detriment not just of the UK, but of all of Europe.

1. The Guild calls on the British Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson, to go beyond his assurances of 28 June 2016, to:

  • guarantee security of funding for all UK scientists funded under Horizon 2020, even after the UK leaves the EU;
  • guarantee Erasmus or Erasmus-equivalent funding for UK students beginning their degree programmes during EU membership; and
  • guarantee home fee levels for all EU students beginning their study whilst the UK is still a member.

It is essential that students, researchers and universities across Europe get more certainty from the UK government at the earliest opportunity.

2. The Guild calls on the national governments in the UK, as well as the EU, to recognize the signal importance of Higher Education and to prioritise the free flow of students, academic staff and scholarly interaction as a key objective of BREXIT negotiations. The close collaboration of Europe’s world-leading universities is indispensable for delivering ground-breaking research, the ability to translate this into innovate products where appropriate, and educating tomorrow’s innovators and leaders. The European Union has succeeded in creating highly effective cross-border funding mechanisms for collaborative research, innovation and mobility: to compromise these as a result of BREXIT would cause irreparable damage to the knowledge societies of Europe.

3. The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities calls upon European universities and their staff and students to underline their important role at this time of uncertainty through concrete action. The Guild will set an example of its own by committing to increase the level of student mobility amongst its members. It will create a series of collaborative research workshops for the coming academic year. And the Guild will support growing the number of collaborative funding bids over the next three years, involving the best researchers of any of its institutions.

Now is a time for European universities – within the UK and beyond – to lead by example. We call on universities, student societies, and learned societies (within and beyond the UK) to join us in enhancing the mobility of students across Europe, and increasing research collaboration wherever possible, in the face of current political uncertainties. And we call on governments, as well as the Commission, to support us in this endeavor.

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Jeg er optimist, og jeg tror at forhandlerne vil lande på politiske løsninger som bevarer det akademiske fellesskapet i Europa. Vi har simpelthen ikke råd til å bryte ned dette fellesskapet – et fellesskap som ikke bare gir oss tilgang på ekspertise og kunnskap, men som også bygger tillit og forståelse over landegrensene.

 

Lenker:

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jul/23/erasmus-scheme-exclude-british-students-brexit

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/16/science-research-hit-by-brexit

http://khrono.no/debatt/brexit-dreier-seg-om-noe-storr

Publisert 1. aug. 2016 12:53 - Sist endret 1. aug. 2016 14:57
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