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York and Maastricht universities announce major partnership

Posted on 21 January 2019

The University of York and Maastricht University have now concluded the details of an initial £3m investment deal to position their partnership as a strategic response to Brexit and deliver a suite of collaborative joint initiatives.


The York Maastricht Partnership will allow both institutions to consider how best to strengthen research ties post-Brexit.

The initial phase of the alliance will deliver joint PhDs in public health, major research collaborations, executive education programmes, and student exchanges. These joint research and education programmes will be established in the York Maastricht Partnership (YMP), a new virtual institute, supported by the £3m investment for the first three years.

Both institutions say the partnership is particularly important and essential in the current political climate and as uncertainties over a no-deal Brexit grow.

UK universities face the prospect of losing access to EU research funding and student mobility funding; York and Maastricht are committed to ensuring a vibrant and sustainable long-term partnership based on shared values and ambitions.

Core ambition

The York Maastricht Partnership (YMP) will be overseen by a joint executive board between the two universities, and will allow both institutions to consider how best to strengthen research ties post-Brexit.

A core ambition of the partnership is to ensure that through collaboration both institutions can benefit from enhanced access to UK and EU funding.

The £3m investment in the partnership will be formally announced by the two universities on January 25 - the 43rd anniversary of the Maastricht University’s formation.

The event on 25 January, to be held in Maastricht as part of their birthday celebration (or Dies Natalis), will feature an open seminar on the implications for the future of Europe in a post-Brexit environment, and an annual high-profile ceremonial birthday procession through the city of Maastricht.

Changing environment

York’s Acting Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Saul Tendler said: “York and Maastricht already enjoy strong ties, but this enhanced strategic partnership comes at a particularly crucial and relevant time.

“Brexit will have an impact for UK universities and this partnership ensures that York is prepared, resilient and able to respond to the changing environment we face."

“European research collaborations, and the exchange of students and staff, will continue – benefiting some of our global challenges, and the careers of current and future researchers.”

Shared values

“This partnership demonstrates our commitment to collaborate with one of the outstanding institutions in Europe.”

“We already share a great deal in common with Maastricht – shared values, academic excellence, and a very international outlook, and I look forward to working even more closely with our colleagues there in the years ahead.”

As part of the partnership, the two universities have launched major academic themes in a number of areas, including in neuroscience, data science, food and health, the ‘Global South’, and the future of Europe.

Maastricht’s President, Professor Martin Paul said: “The academic themes are complementary to both universities and it is something we can strengthen and enlarge. Academics at both universities have already begun exploring these opportunities. 

 "The next step is to formalise the collaboration in a governance structure that guarantees a sustainable partnership, allowing academics and students the chance to benefit from the partnership and create challenging research and education programmes.”

 “A no-deal Brexit will have a devastating impact on the scientific community in UK and EU. We will not agree with nostalgic politics. We believe that science has no borders and we all benefit from the universal outreach of science.

“Maastricht University is committed to creating a partnership that goes beyond politics and which focuses on a sustainable scientific future for both institutions."

He added: “Maastricht University is a truly international university. By seeking cooperation with top universities all over the globe we strive to continuously improve  our education and research programmes - programmes that challenge global issues today and tomorrow.  The YMP is a new partnership in an uncertain and changing environment.”

The two universities already know each well through their joint membership of the Worldwide Universities Network.

They already have student and staff exchanges through the Erasmus+ scheme, and a number of research connections – most notably in the field of Imaging.

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