University response to the outcome of the EU referendum

Dear Colleagues,

Following the EU referendum, we now know that the UK has made the decision to leave the European Union. I know that many of you, like myself, will have strong feelings about this decision and deep concerns about what it will mean for the future of our continent, our country and our University.

Our University is a community of international scholarship which includes many who are citizens of other EU countries. I know that those of you who are in this category will have many questions about what this will mean for you personally, as will all those who are directly involved in work dependent on EU collaboration and funding.

I want to first of all make clear to you my personal commitment that we shall do all in our power to hold together as a University community and to secure answers at this difficult time. This may take some time, but we will work closely with our colleagues in other institutions and higher education bodies to give you the answers you will need.

The advice I have received so far from Universities UK is that we should remember that the UK leaving the EU will not happen overnight.

The Lisbon Treaty foresees a two year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided. For this reason there will not be any immediate material change to the immigration status of current and prospective EU students and staff or to the UK university sector’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.

However, I have asked colleagues to focus on the questions I know we will have and to develop answers to questions which we will share via a dedicated web page (requires University login details) over the coming days.

This information will be extended as we know more ourselves. You can also email us your questions at:

Clearly this is a worrying time for many. I would like though to thank all of you for your dedication to the scholarship which brought many of you to Sheffield in the first place, and the care for students and inspiring research which changes lives in so many ways.

I will be doing all in my power to ensure that this precious contribution is protected and that you receive all the advice you need to continue to thrive as part of this University.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett CBE FRS FRSW