The show of unity across government and higher and further education is unprecedented.

A joint statement backed by key organisations representing university and college principals, students and staff, SNP ministers and the science community highlights the grave concerns shared by all.

The campaign is pressing. New figures show even before any Brexit deal is done that there are concerns the UK is receiving less in European research funding than it otherwise would have done.

This is due in part to a downturn in participation, but also a lower success rate in winning grants, with many scientists now anxious about what will happen after 2021.

The current situation is also deeply troubling for those concerned about the impact on the wider economy.

Professor Dame Anne Glover, president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: “Scotland’s future economy will be based on us being smart, not on us making the cheapest widgets because we will always be undercut elsewhere in the world.

“It is very hard to compete with us at the moment in terms of being smart because we are a very research intense country and that is reflected in our success in the EU research funding programme. We benefit hugely, but the signs are already there and it is worrying.”

There are also concerns over the flow of talented students from across Europe into Scottish universities.

The Russell Group of universities, which includes Glasgow and Edinburgh, has recorded a nine per cent fall in EU students starting postgraduate research courses.

There is also the uncertain status of EU academics and students currently working or studying here.

Institutions have been deeply uncomfortable with the way people’s lives have been unsettled throughout the lengthy Brexit process and want to see clear guarantees over their future security.

Mary Senior, Scotland official for the UCU union, which represents lecturers, said Brexit had created “deep uncertainty and insecurity” for EU citizens “delivering teaching and research that makes our system world class”.

None of those who have signed up to the joint campaign are optimistic about the future.

All would rather see Brexit dumped entirely, with the best alternative a deal which guarantees free movement of people and a continuation of the UK’s involvement in research pools.

Alistair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, does not believe current negotiations recognise such crucial factors.

“There is a lot at stake in these negotiations, but arguably more importantly than our exit, is our future relationship with the EU,” he said.

“So far that amounts to just a few pages in the political declaration on the future framework.”