Brexit update

Dear Colleagues,

Michaelmas term, and this past week in particular, has seen staff from across the University and colleges rise to a complex series of challenges, from enabling the safe return of thousands of students in October to continuing our world-leading teaching and research – most notably the COVID-19 vaccine – under what have been exceptionally difficult circumstances.

As we head towards the end of term and a well-deserved break over the Christmas vacation, I want to update you on another significant moment approaching for each of us, the University and indeed the country – the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period and the beginning of a new chapter in our relationship with the European Union.

Negotiations between the UK and EU are ongoing but uncertainty remains about the shape of the deal that we must hope will emerge before the 31 December deadline. The University has been working hard to prepare for the changes we know will soon come into force, and has put in place contingency plans for whatever situation we face at the end of the year.

I would like to set out the key areas of the University’s operations that we understand will be affected when the transition period ceases to apply, and to highlight the points you should be considering now that may have an impact upon your work, or upon you personally.


EU/EEA and Swiss citizens currently living and working in the UK wishing to apply for settled or pre-settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme must do so by the deadline of 1 July 2021.

EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who have started employment with the University outside of the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic, and those who left the UK to work remotely, need to ensure that they obtain the right to live and work in the UK if they have not already done so. Advice for individuals in either situation can be found on the Staff Immigration Team’s Brexit transition webpage.

Please contact the Staff Immigration Team if you have a query about your status, applying to the settlement scheme, recruitment or changes to the UK’s immigration rules.

Research funding

The nature of the UK’s research funding arrangements with the EU are still to be determined. However, it should be emphasised that our researchers remain eligible to apply for and to be funded from all calls under the current Horizon 2020 scheme, including those with closing dates after 31 December. All existing funding under Horizon is secure.

The Europe and International Team in Research Services are closely monitoring the negotiations and will update the guidance contained in the Brexit Staff Q&A once this issue is resolved, with information on alternative UK funding sources if no agreement is reached.

Finance and purchasing

Purchasing and supply issues may emerge should the UK and EU fail to reach an agreement. New customs checks at ports may be introduced which will potentially delay supplies of goods, and some supply chains may be put at risk. This is in addition to the likelihood of extra costs being incurred as a result of currency fluctuations and the introduction of tariffs.

If you require detailed guidance and information on any of these areas please contact the Finance Division.

Data protection

Without an agreement covering data protection there is likely to be some impact on EU-to-UK data transfers. The Information Compliance Team has compiled a data protection guide setting out the situation as it stands and the anticipated impact that the end of the transition period will have on information sharing, including personal data, as well as the need to review existing contracts and projects.

For advice on how this may affect your work please contact the Information Compliance Team.

Should you have any questions or concerns about these issues, please consult the Q&A or the Student Q&A in the first instance to see if your query has been answered. If you are still unsure, one of the above teams would be very happy to speak with you and assist if they can.

I know that for many of you this will be a further challenge in an already trying year. Regardless of the outcome we find ourselves facing on the 1 January, the University will remain a global, outward-facing institution, and we will endeavour to do all we can to support our staff and students to manage these changes.


Gill Aitken