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UK Universities

Volume 624: debated on Thursday 27 April 2017

17. What discussions his Department has had with UK universities on the negotiations for the UK leaving the EU. (909888)

The Government have provided assurances to EU students in the UK. I particularly welcome the announcement on 21 April, which confirmed that EU students applying to study at English universities in 2018-19 will remain eligible for undergraduate, masters, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU. The Government want to create an environment in which the UK remains a world leader in research and academia, and continues to be home to the best universities in the world.

I echo those sentiments about international students and commend my hon. Friend for all his work on that campaign. I am very proud to have the award-winning Huddersfield University in our town. I visited its institute of railway research a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to the local enterprise partnership business growth fund, it is working on innovative rail and tram projects around the world, including in Australia. Will the Minister and his team make sure that our world-class universities are at the heart of the opportunities that Brexit brings?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to champion our world-class universities. Along with my hon. Friend the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, I have been meeting regularly with his higher education and innovation council, which represents the views of the university sector to us. It is very clear that UK collaborative research, both with European partners and more widely in the world, is a huge opportunity through this process.