United Kingdom

The UK’s university system is one of the highest-performing higher education systems in the world. UK universities conduct outstanding research and are also extremely attractive to international students. The UK is one of the most popular destinations for German students studying abroad. There is also intensive cooperation between German and UK institutions with respect to university research.
As a result, there is a close relationship between the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) and its British counterpart, Universities UK (UUK).

UK and Germany: student exchange and joint research continue

6 December 2016 Press release by Universities UK (UUK) :
Last month, UUK President Dame Julia Goodfellow visited Berlin and UUK's partner organisation, the German Rectors' Conference Hochschulrektorenkonferenz (HRK), for the first time since the UK's vote to leave the EU in June 2016. Since the referendum, both organisations have observed increasing uncertainty regarding the future conditions for the traditionally close British-German relations in university research and study. Read more

European Rectors' Conferences want to safeguard collaboration with the UK

22 July 2016 The Presidents of Rectors’ Conferences in 24 European countries have proclaimed their support for continued collaboration with British universities, even after a Brexit. In the joint statement, also signed by HRK President Horst Hippler, the presidents point to the great significance of the collaboration for the development of universities throughout Europe. They say that pooling infrastructure, data and expertise is of fundamental importance in knowledge-based societies. Read more

Brexit: concrete consequences for universities

28 July 2016 Following the referendum on 23 June 2016, in which the UK electorate voted by a narrow majority to leave the European Union, the question arises as to the concrete consequences of this decision. Universities UK is maintaining a continually updated website on this issue: Brexit FAQs for universities and students

In a first official reaction on 28 June 2016, Jo Johnson, the UK’s Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, emphasised that the UK would fulfil its obligations in full until such time as the country left the EU. Johnson outlined the direct impacts on EU citizens and student funding in England, the status of students and university staff from other EU countries, Erasmus+ and the research funding programme Horizon 2020 as follows: Read more

HRK President on Brexit: profound impact extends to universities

24 June 2016 “Universities will also be profoundly affected by Brexit,” said HRK President Horst Hippler, responding to the UK's vote to withdraw from the European Union. “The consequences will hit British universities hard, and with them the entire European Higher Education and Research Area. We need to brace ourselves for a difficult transition period given the extensive negotiations that lie ahead on the conditions for including the United Kingdom in the European funding and exchange programmes. For German universities and the German Rectors' Conference, Brexit marks a painful turning point.” Read more

UK and German rectors' conferences before the Brexit referendum: devastating consequences for study and research

2 June 2016 University rectors from Germany and the UK have emphasised the key importance of the EU in funding top-level research and student mobility in Europe. At a meeting of the executive boards of the rectors' conferences of both countries in Berlin, HRK President Horst Hippler described a potential exit of the UK from the EU as “devastating to the collaboration of academics and researchers in Germany and the whole of Europe”. Germany and the UK are each the second most important partner of the respective other country (after the USA). They are the most successful countries in obtaining funding from the EU’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Read more

Presidents of the German and the British Rectors' Conferences protest against Horizon 2020 cuts

13 April 2015 The German Rectors' Conference (HRK) and its British counterpart, Universities UK (UUK), have protested against the cuts to Horizon 2020, the EU research programme, in a joint article published in the "Financial Times". The Presidents of the two organisations, Horst Hippler and Christopher Snowden, expressed their deep concern that diverting €2.7 billion into the newly-created "European Funds for Strategic Investments" (EFSI) will weaken university-based research in Europe. Read more