THE vice-chancellors of Oxford's two universities penned an open letter urging voters to remain in the EU.

Along with 103 others, Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and Oxford University Professor Louise Richardson said they were "gravely concerned" about the impact of a UK exit from the EU on their universities and students.

The open letter said: "The impact of our universities on our local communities and economy should not be underestimated. 

"Every year, universities generate over £73 billion for the UK economy – £3.7bn of which is generated by students from EU countries, while supporting nearly 380,000 jobs.

"Strong universities benefit the British people - creating employable graduates and cutting-edge research discoveries that improve lives.

"Our membership of the EU enhances this positive impact and makes our outstanding universities even stronger.

"Inside the EU, we are better able to work collaboratively on ground-breaking research in areas from cancer to climate change.

"EU membership supports British universities to attract the brightest and best minds from across Europe, enhancing university research and teaching and contributing to economic growth.

"We believe that leaving Europe would create a difficult environment for the long-term investment in higher education and research that is necessary for the UK to maintain its position as a highly skilled and a globally competitive knowledge economy.

"For us it is crystal clear that our outstanding universities – and our students – are stronger in Europe."