More than 200 Cambridge University professors, dames, knights and Nobel prize winners have expressed their “grave concern” at the impact on British universities of leaving the European Union.
In a letter published in Tuesday's Daily Telegraph, the academics warn that the funding black hole created from a Brexit could not be filled by the UK government alone.
They also suggest that Britain’s border security and economy are better served inside the EU because most “issues of our time” take “no account of national borders”.
Some of the university's most well-known names including Lord Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir Richard Evans, the historian, have signed up.
Also Cambridge college heads including Dame Barbara Stocking, President of Murray Edwards, and Susan Smith, Mistress of Girton, have added their names to the list.
The signatories write: “As senior members of Cambridge University, writing in our personal capacities, we wish to express our grave concern for the future of our universities and country if Britain votes to leave the EU.”
They go on: “The major issues of our time – in security, energy, environmental sustainability, health and the globalised economy – take no account of national borders.
“Our future will depend on our ability to collaborate and share beyond our own boundaries. With rising academic centres in American and Asia, we will only maintain our foremost position in research and innovation if we combine our research resources within a reformed EU. Our future economic growth depends on it.”
Turnout among students and younger Britons could be a major factor in determining the EU referendum result, according to campaign strategists.
Young voters tend to be more likely to support staying in the EU but less likely to turn out to vote according to the polls.
In a separate development, Prof Stephen Hawking said Britain needs to stay in the EU to protect its scientific research being undermined by the Government's austerity cuts.
Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott accused Prof Hawking of making a "patently ridiculous" argument for retaining membership.