The names of more than 20 senior figures from the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St Andrews appear in the letter published in the Herald newspaper warning of the impact on research and opportunities for students.
They include former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Menzies Campbell, who is chancellor of the University of St Andrews; Maggie Chapman, rector of the University of Aberdeen; and Malcolm Macleod, professor of neurology and translational neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh.
They say the loss of EU Horizon 2020 funding will hit students, lecturers and research in Scotland hard, and a post-Brexit Scotland will be a less attractive destination for academic talent.
The letter states: “These are just some of the reasons why more and more people in Scotland are now calling out for a People’s Vote.
“We support this demand and believe it would be a democratic way to allow the people to take a decision on what their futures should be at the end of the Brexit process. It is the people that started the process and they should be the ones to end it, too.
“Now is the time for Scottish politicians and Scottish political leaders to demonstrate that they are prepared to lead on this and commit to providing the people with their democratic say on the Brexit deal. Brexit is a big deal, but it is not a done deal.”