Signed by the president of Universities UK, Julia Goodfellow, and the director of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairbairn, the letter calls upon the UK government to adopt policies that support international collaboration.
It insists that this must include a reformed visa and immigration system that supports both higher education and industry to recruit internationally.
“We must continue to be open to people, skills and ideas from across Europe and the world”
The government has made clear in recent announcements that it “recognises the fundamental value of science, research and innovation for the UK’s economic growth, productivity and global standing”, it notes.
“However, if the UK is to compete on an international scale and become the go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors, it is imperative that the government also recognises and supports the crucial role of international collaboration and access to highly skilled, overseas talent,” it argues.
Investment in research and development and local skills development must also be a priority if the UK is to remain a world leader in science and innovation, it adds.
Though the letter does not explicitly address Brexit, it alludes to the concern felt by many universities and businesses that leaving the EU may hinder the UK’s openness to international talent.
“Whatever our future relationship with the EU, these key ingredients for success must not be compromised,” it concludes.
“We must continue to be open to people, skills and ideas from across Europe and the world.”
The letter’s 20 signatories also include the director general of the institute of directors, Simon Walker; director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, Adam Marshall; president of The Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan; and Karan Bilimoria, president of UKCISA and co-founder of Cobra Beer.