FWO en VLIR overleggen met Britse collega's naar aanleiding van nakende Brexit

12/10/2017 09:00

De VLIR, samen met het FWO, vertegenwoordigd door Prof. Paul De Knop en dr. Hans Willems, hebben vorige week overleg gehad met de Britse collega’s naar aanleiding van de nakende Brexit. Het joint statement hierover is hieronder terug te vinden:

Joint statement on continued partnership between Flemish and British universities

On Thursday 12 October 2017, British and Flemish Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Higher Education and Research stakeholders met in London to discuss shared challenges in higher education, research, and student exchange, and to explore opportunities for increasing collaboration between universities in Flanders (Belgium) and the UK. The event was hosted by the General Representation of the Government of Flanders in the UK and jointly organised by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR), Universities UK (UUK) and the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO). At the meeting, VLIR, UUK and FWO highlighted the value of the many strong and well-established links between British and Flemish universities.


There is a strong record of academics and researchers moving between the UK and Flanders. Today, 135 British nationals are working at Flemish universities. In 2015-16, there were 710 Belgian staff working in the UK, a figure which has almost doubled in the last 10 years. These flows have been aided by the Marie-Sklodowska Curie Actions, funded by the EU Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation.

There is a similarly strong history of Flemish and British students moving between the two countries for both full degree study and mobility opportunities. In 2015-16, there were 581 Flemish students taking up credit mobility in the UK, up from 139 in 2008-2009. In the same year 363 British nationals were enrolled in Flemish higher education institutions for full degree study. In 2014 the EU Erasmus+ programme alone supported 388 Flemish students to study in the UK, and 236 UK students to study in Flanders.

Research and Innovation

Flanders is UK’s  6th  most common collaborator and UK ranks as Flanders’ 3rd  most common partner in the area of joint publications. Within the Horizon 2020 programme, researchers from the UK and Flanders already collaborate in no fewer than 498 research projects. Furthermore, EU monitoring reports show that the UK was Belgium’s second most common collaborative partner in the FP7 programme. The UK is a partner in ten out of the 18 ERA-NET ‘cofund’ calls in which FWO also participates.

These figures demonstrate the many collaborations and partnerships that exist between British and Flemish institutions. These ties are strong and benefit both Flemish and British citizens and economies. VLIR, UUK and FWO strongly believe that this collaboration also contributes to European science and innovation, supporting a knowledge-based economy to the benefit of all. In issuing this statement, VLIR, UUK and FWO commit to continuing their efforts to advocate and further enhance inter-university cooperation between Flanders and the UK.