Almost a quarter of researchers in Scottish universities are from other EU countries, Universities Scotland said in a joint statement with the Scottish Government.
Universities welcomed a commitment by EU research commissioner Carlos Moedas that the UK will retain full access to EU research programmes like Horizon 2020 “until the end of the negotiations”.
They have called for a post-Brexit deal that allows Scotland to continue to play “a full role” in European research programs after the UK leaves the EU.
They have also called for the reintroduction of the work post-study visa to ensure EU students can continue to work in Scotland if they lose their automatic right to remain when Brexit is completed.
Universities Scotland stopped short of endorsing the Scottish Government’s objective to maintain Scotland’s “existing relationship” with the EU.
The statement said: “The UK Government has stated that ‘there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK’ and we are seeking immediate reassurance that the immigration status and rights of EU nationals currently living in Scotland will not change in future.
“We believe that the outcome of the EU referendum makes it even more important that the UK Government supports the reintroduction of a post-study work visa in Scotland to enable our universities to continue to attract and retain talent from across the world.The Scottish Government’s overriding objective is to protect and maintain Scotland’s existing relationship with the European Union.The Scottish Government and Universities Scotland share the objective of enabling Scotland to continue to play a full role in European research programs.”