EU referendum FAQs EU referendum FAQs

Following the referendum and resulting decision to leave the European Union, there are understandably many questions and uncertainties facing staff, students and the whole international community.

The process of leaving the EU will not happen overnight. Once triggered by the government, the Treaty on European Union (commonly referred to as the 'Lisbon Treaty') sets out a two year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of our exit from the European Union will be decided. This has not yet happened.

While the result is not what UEA campaigned for and is disappointing and upsetting for many in the UEA community, the University’s priority is to reassure all staff and students from the family of EU nations that they are hugely valued and UEA remains a welcoming and supportive place to study and work.

UEA will be working to get answers to the longer-term questions and to press the government to ensure the UK remains a welcoming place for the brightest and the best staff and students from other EU countries and other countries around the world.

Below are some of the common questions and the answers currently available. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.


Student questions

•  How will this affect the immigration status of current EU students at UEA?

•  How will finance for EU students be affected?

•  I’m an EU student with a place to start in academic year 2016/17, what will happen to my place?

•  I am an EU student studying in the UK under the Erasmus programme

•  I am a UK student studying in the EU under the Erasmus or other Study Abroad programmes

•  I am due to study abroad as part of my course. Will I be affected?

•  I’m an EU student in the UK. Will I still be able to access the NHS?


Staff questions

•  Should UEA researchers still bid for EU funding?

•  How does ‘Associated Country’ status work on Horizon 2020?

•  Aren’t there different models of Associated Country’ status?

•  For how long will the UK continue to have the current full access to Horizon 2020?

•  What is UEA’s message to potential MSCA Fellows considering applying to come and be based at UEA?

•  Do we anticipate bias against UK institutions joining consortia going forward?

•  What about the risks to the funding of existing, ‘live’ EU grants?

•  What about the risks to EU funding bids that have been submitted but not yet evaluated?

•  What about EU grant awards under negotiation?

•  How does UEA propose to manage potentially significant exchange rate fluctuations on things like Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships, or potentially significant problems for investigators being able to project manage the work within the budget awarded?

•  What about ERDF and similar economic development type grants?

•  What is the UK’s continued eligibility for non-framework EU programmes, such as the LIFE Programme?

•  What about the longer term prospects for EU funded research?

•  I’m a non-UK EU national working UK. Will I still be able to access the NHS?


General questions

•  How long will it take to see changes?

•  How will leaving the EU affect UEA’s recently-announced future plans and Vision2030?

•  I have experienced racism, harassment or abuse on campus or in the community following the result of the referendum

 

STUDENTS 

How will this affect the immigration status of current EU students at UEA? 
Until the Treaty on European Union (commonly referred to as the 'Lisbon Treaty') negotiations are completed, there will be no change to the immigration status of current EU students at UEA.

The Government have published a Policy Paper which sets out their offer for EU citizens and their families in the UK. However, this policy is still in negotiation stages and will not come into play until the full details have been agreed.  

How will finance for EU students be affected?
The Student Loan Company has issued a statement following the result, which can be read in full here: http://www.slc.co.uk/media/latest-news/eu-nationals-and-student-finance-in-england.aspx

The UK Government has confirmed that current university students from the EU, and those applying to courses starting in 2017/18 or 2018/19, will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. 

In short, EU nationals or their family members, currently in higher education, and who are assessed as eligible to receive loans and/or grants from the SLC, will continue to receive their loans and grants until they finish their course. The rules applying to EU nationals, or their family members, who have applied for a place at university starting in 2017/18 or 2018/19 to study a course which attracts student support are unchanged. The SLC will assess these applications against existing eligibility criteria, and will provide loans and/or grants in the normal way. 

I’m an EU student with a place to start in academic year 2017/18, what will happen to my place? 
There is no reason to assume any change to your immigration status or access to student loans at this stage. We can confirm that course fees will match those of UK students, for the duration of your course. 

For undergraduate students, the Student Loans Company (Student Finance England) have also confirmed that they will provide loans and/or grants in the normal way, for the duration of study on the course and they are continuing to assess applications against existing eligibility criteria. You can visit the UK Government website for EU Students to look at the eligibility criteria and find out how to apply for a loan.

For Postgraduate Taught EU students Student Finance England’s (SFE) new Postgraduate Loan application service is now open.

The full details of the scheme, and quickest and easiest way for you to apply is online at www.gov.uk/postgraduate-loan. We are currently communicating with all our EU offer holders by email, but if they do have any questions then they can email admissions@uea.ac.uk.

I am an EU student studying in the UK under the Erasmus programme
As above, your immigration status has not changed, and you will continue to be eligible for your Erasmus grant until at least as long as we remain a member of the EU. More details can be found on the Erasmus+ website

I am a UK student studying in the EU under the Erasmus or other Study Abroad programmes
Your immigration status has not changed, and you continue to be eligible for your Erasmus grant until at least as long as we remain a member of the EU.

I am due to study abroad as part of my course. Will I be affected? 
Until the withdrawal negotiations are completed, there will be no changes to UEA’s membership of programmes such as Erasmus. Throughout this period, the UK will maintain all aspects of its current EU Membership.

I’m an EU student in the UK. Will I still be able to access the NHS?
Throughout the negotiation period, the UK will maintain all aspects of its current EU Membership. Any changes to access rights in the UK, including health services, will be decided by the UK government as part of these negotiations. 

 

STAFF

Should UEA researchers still bid for EU funding?
Yes, absolutely. The UK continues to remain a full member of the European Union, and there are no changes to the UK's status in Horizon 2020.

Indeed, on 13 August 2016, the UK Treasury confirmed it will underwrite the future funding of Horizon 2020 awards won up to the point the UK leaves the EU, even where specific projects continue beyond that point. It is, therefore, important we carry on as we are at UEA. To do otherwise could mean missing out on major funding opportunities, particularly in areas like the European Research Council (ERC), the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), and various societal challenges.

Remember, it is not certain at this stage that the UK will lose access to Horizon 2020 and subsequent programmes; that will form part of the detailed exit negotiations. We hope that the final exit agreement includes the UK becoming a full ‘Associated Country’ to Horizon 2020.

Unlike Horizon 2020, European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIFs) are managed and distributed by Member States themselves. The Treasury also said on 3 October 2016 that it will guarantee to underwrite EU-funded ESIF projects signed by the point at which the UK departs the EU; provided that such projects are “good value for money” and “in line with domestic strategic priorities”. ESIF funding includes the European Social Fund (ESF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and European Territorial Cooperation programmes (Interreg).

How does ‘Associated Country’ status work on Horizon 2020?
The Horizon 2020 framework programme for research is open to participation from applicants from certain ‘Third Countries’ (non-EU countries) where an international agreement has been signed with the European Union. There are currently sixteen Associated Countries, including Norway and Switzerland. These sixteen countries contribute financially to the Horizon 2020 budget so that they can participate in programmes and receive funding as if they were EU Member States.

Aren’t there different models of Associated Country’ status?
Most Associated Countries have full access to Horizon 2020. However, the individual requirements of each country may differ slightly.

For how long will the UK continue to have the current full access to Horizon 2020?
For the Calls occurring over the next couple of years (at least), there is no change to our eligibility for, access to, and participation in Horizon 2020.

The process of leaving the EU will not happen overnight. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other EU Member States, during which time the terms of our exit from the European Union will be decided. The UK’s decision to exit will have to be translated into a range of detailed negotiations and decisions, including those relating to research and innovation. Given that Article 50 was triggered on 29 March 2017, we expect it will take until at least Spring 2019, or perhaps even longer, for the UK’s departure from the EU to take place. Remember, it could be that UK researchers/universities will continue to have access to all or part of Horizon 2020 funding post-Brexit; this element will form part of the detailed exit negotiations. If, in a worst-case scenario, access to Horizon 2020 is lost, then UEA, along with others, has urged the UK Government to consider transitional arrangements to ensure there is no ‘cliff edge’ change in 2019.

What is UEA’s message to potential MSCA Fellows considering applying to come and be based at UEA?
We very much want them to still come here and they will be welcomed with open arms. The EU referendum result is not what we at UEA hoped for, and we can assure EU and international researchers that there is no change to how much we value them and how much we would welcome them here as part of our UEA community.

We would stress that the UK continues to remain a full member of the European Union, and for the Horizon 2020 Calls occurring over the next couple of years (at least), there is no change to our eligibility for, access to, and participation – including MSCA Individual Fellowships.

UEA remains committed to carrying out European research, so our focus will be on securing support that allows us to continue to be global in our outlook, and internationally-networked.

We would also stress that it is not certain at this stage that the UK will lose access to Horizon 2020 post-Brexit; that will form part of the detailed exit negotiations. UEA’s hope is that the final exit agreement includes the UK becoming a full ‘Associated Country’ to Horizon 2020, including the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

Do we anticipate bias against UK institutions joining consortia going forward?
For the next couple of years, there is technically no change to the UK’s eligibility for, access to, and successful participation in European Union programmes such as Horizon 2020. So we still expect healthy UK participation in collaborative research bids, given the research strength and reputation of UK universities. The expertise UEA offers remains as valuable to consortium members as it always has been. 

The Treasury’s guarantees are encouraging in that hopefully they provide some stability for UK universities during the transition period as the UK negotiates its exit from the EU. It sends an important signal to European researchers that they can continue to collaborate with their UK colleagues as they have before, with certainty over the UK funding position through to the end of the project. So far, UEA continues to win EU funding and the signs are that we are not being punished in the evaluations of bids.

What about the risks to the funding of existing, ‘live’ EU grants?
As these are contractual agreements, we expect these to be unaffected.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron assured MPs at a House Commons debate on 27 June 2016 that all Horizon 2020 contracts, signed before the date on which the UK leaves the European Union, “will be honoured for their duration”. He added: “Science is an area in which we get more out from Europe than we put in and we’ll certainly want to safeguard that for the future.”

Notwithstanding that, we will continue to stress to the UK Government that it must ensure contract continuity is protected, both in terms of financing throughout a project’s duration and the position of the researchers supporting it.

What about the risks to EU funding bids that have been submitted but not yet evaluated?
On Horizon 2020, we expect these bids to be unaffected. The Horizon 2020 evaluation process is not politicised; evaluation panels assess proposals purely on the basis of their quality. Assessors act in an independent capacity as the leading experts in their field; not on behalf of their university/research institute, or on behalf of their country.  Additional briefing for evaluators has been published by the European Commission, stating that UK-linked applications must be evaluated in exactly the same way as before.

The overall EU success rate for the most recent Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships Call was 13.4 per cent, however the UK’s success rate was considerably above this at 15.3 per cent. Also, in the most recent ERC Consolidator Grants Call, the UK hosted the highest number of awards of any country, 58 (18.5 per cent of the total), ahead of Germany with 48.

So far, UEA continues to win EU funding and the signs are that we are not being punished in the evaluations of bids.

What about EU grant awards under negotiation?
Horizon 2020 should be unaffected; the Treasury has confirmed it will underwrite the future funding of Horizon 2020 projects won up to the point the UK leaves the EU, even where specific projects continue beyond that point. In addition, Horizon 2020 Grant Agreements are largely standard, and it would not be usual practice to renegotiate them following a successful evaluation outcome.

The Treasury has since extended its guarantee to include the underwriting of ESIF projects (such as ERDF and Interreg) signed by the point at which the UK departs the EU; provided that such projects are “good value for money” and “in line with domestic strategic priorities”.

How does UEA propose to manage potentially significant exchange rate fluctuations on things like Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships, or potentially significant problems for investigators being able to project manage the work within the budget awarded?
UEA receives MSCA Fellowship allowances from the EU in euros, the full sterling equivalent amount of which must be paid to the Fellows. UEA converts these to sterling using the exchange rate prevailing each time a payment/claim is raised, allowing for exchange rate fluctuations. An Institutional rate is used to calculate additional payments in advance.

Adjustments are made to any payments to Fellows against the sums received for a claim/invoice from the EU. Fluctuations in the exchange rate are standard within the UK, but UEA is not required to cover exchange rate risk on behalf of the Fellow.

That said, in extreme cases only, UEA may consider a case where severe exchange rate fluctuations was causing issues of financial hardship for Fellows or challenges for project management budgets.

What about ERDF and similar economic development type grants?
The ’EU Structural and Investment Funds’ (the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF); the European Social Fund (ESF); the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD); and European Territorial Cooperation programmes (Interreg)) work together to support economic development across all EU countries. The aim is to strengthen the EU’s economic, social and territorial cohesion, reduce disparities between the levels of development of the various regions, with particular attention paid to rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps.

This portion of the EU budget is managed and distributed by Member States themselves. The Treasury said on 3 October 2016 that it will guarantee to underwrite ESIF projects signed by the point at which the UK departs the EU; provided that such projects are “good value for money” and “in line with domestic strategic priorities”.

What is the UK’s continued eligibility for non-framework EU programmes, such as the LIFE Programme?
The UK continues to remain a full member of the EU, and there are no changes at this stage to the UK's status on non-framework funding programmes, such as LIFE, and the Third Health Programme. Indeed, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) – national contact point for the LIFE Programme – has confirmed that the Treasury’s guarantee on EU funding dated 13 August 2016 includes the underwriting of LIFE funds awarded up until the point that the UK exits the EU. 

However, do check with the EU Team at UEA if you are thinking about project activity in non-framework programmes.

What about the longer term prospects for EU funded research?
The precise nature and terms of the UK’s exit from the EU are yet to be agreed.  There will be a two-year exit process (at least) with significant opportunities to seek assurances and influence future outcomes. 

The Treasury’s guarantees are encouraging in that hopefully it will provide some stability for UK universities during the transition period as the UK negotiates its exit from the EU. It sends an important signal to European researchers that they can continue to collaborate with their UK colleagues as they have before, with certainty over the UK funding position through to the end of the project.

Remember, it could be that UK researchers/universities will continue to have access to all or part of Horizon 2020 funding post-Brexit; this element will form part of the detailed negotiations.

UEA remains committed to carrying out European research, so our focus will be on securing support that allows us to continue to be global in our outlook, and internationally-networked.

I’m a non-UK EU national working UK. Will I still be able to access the NHS?
Throughout the negotiation period which will comment when the Treaty on European Union (commonly referred to as the 'Lisbon Treaty') period is triggered, the UK will maintain all aspects of its current EU Membership. Any changes to access rights in the UK, including health services, will be decided by the UK government as part of these negotiations.

 

GENERAL

How long will it take to see changes?
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty sets out a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other EU Member States. Given that Article 50 was triggered on 29 March 2017, we expect it will take until at least Spring 2019, or perhaps even longer, for the UK's departure from the EU to take place. During which time the terms of our exit from the European Union will be decided. 

How will leaving the EU affect UEA’s recently-announced future plans and Vision2030?
UEA has not pulled any of its plans in the light of Brexit and remains committed to the UEA Vision 2030. We are, like many other organisations, currently assessing the potential impact Brexit might have on our road map to the delivery of these plans.

I have experienced racism, harassment or abuse on campus or in the community following the result of the referendum
UEA and Norwich are welcoming communities where racism or abuse is never acceptable and will not be tolerated. If UEA students or staff do experience any form of racism then our security team is there help support you and help you report it to the police. You can contact UEA Security 24 hours a day on 01603 592352 or if you feel it’s an emergency 01603 592222.

If you experience racist behaviour away from the UEA campus, please report it to the police by calling 101 (or 999 in an emergency). We also ask students to let the Dean of Students Office know so we can offer support. UEA staff should seek the support of their line manager and also ensure the University is aware.

More information will be added to this page as it becomes available, you can also refer to the Student Support Service's European Students page.