The forthcoming referendum on our EU membership has made it all the more important that we concentrate on challenging misinformation. To do this convincingly, it’s crucial that we have a constellation of voices. Those in the No camp can easily laugh off politicians, but they find it far harder to laugh off businesspeople, charities, scientists, religious groups and the unique gravitas of our country’s universities.
That’s why I’m delighted that Universities UK has launched ‘Universities for Europe’ today — a higher education group, formed to campaign for a Yes vote in the EU referendum by highlighting how the EU helps universities.
In their own words:
The UK’s membership of the European Union enables and enhances universities’ positive impact on individuals, the economy and society. EU membership enhances university research and education which in turn benefits British people.
EU membership is certainly no small financial matter for universities in the UK. Speaking at the launch event today in London, Chuka Umunna laid out the stark figures, which include:
EU R&D funding of £727 million a year for UK institutions and a 15.5% boost to the UK’s science and research budget.
But the benefits go far beyond funding, as Chuka went on to outline. For universities in the UK, EU membership also ensures:
cross-border collaboration on projects, enabling countries to achieve more for less compared to projects restricted to the national level.
As we draw closer to the EU referendum, it’s vital that we see such a broadening spectrum of arguments for why of why we should stay in the EU come to the fore. I wish Universities for Europe all the best – and look forward to watching their campaign develop.
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