18 November 2016
The University of Copenhagen and Trinity College Dublin will join the League of European Research Universities (LERU) on 1 January 2017 following a decision taken earlier today. This will expand LERU’s membership from 21 to 23 members. The decision was reached at the autumn meeting of the LERU Rectors’ Assembly in Heidelberg, Germany.
LERU was founded in 2002 as an association of 12 research-intensive universities with common viewpoints on higher education and research. Today, it acts as a powerful advocate for Europe’s research-intensive universities, speaking up on many issues related to European research, innovation and education policies, such as ERA, Horizon 2020, Open Science, Open Innovation, Erasmus+, etc. Over the past 15 years, LERU has become a valued interlocutor for the European Commission and other EU bodies.
Through their membership, LERU universities can also benefit from mutual learning and the exchange of good practices within the network. It also allows them to influence national agenda’s with relevant European-wide data and experiences.
LERU’s current 21 members are: University of Amsterdam, Universitat de Barcelona, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh, University of Freiburg, Université de Genève, Universität Heidelberg, University of Helsinki, Universiteit Leiden, KU Leuven, Imperial College London, University College London, Lund University, University of Milan, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, University of Oxford, Pierre & Marie Curie University, Université Paris-Sud, University of Strasbourg, Utrecht University, University of Zurich.
LERU membership, which is by invitation only, follows an evaluation against a broad set of quantitative and qualitative criteria, such as research volume, impact and funding, strengths in PhD training, size and disciplinary breadth, and peer-recognised academic excellence.
LERU is pleased that the University of Copenhagen and Trinity College Dublin have accepted the invitation to join the League in this current, third membership expansion exercise. Prof Bert van der Zwaan, the Rector of Utrecht University and acting LERU chairman comments: “The Rectors’ Assembly agreed that a small expansion would further increase the League’s impact, but also that LERU should remain a small network of research-intensive universities in which active contributions and personal connections are vital to continue what has been our success formula thus far”.
This expansion is the result of a year-long process, which has involved both a quantitative study (performed by CWTS at Leiden University), as well as qualitative evaluations and strategic considerations. LERU Secretary-General, Prof Kurt Deketelaere, adds: “With the addition of these two excellent universities, we gain added perspectives from two countries where LERU did not have members. Each of them is unquestionably the top research university in their country. Having them join will significantly strengthen LERU’s position and enrich its capacity to contribute to European research, innovation and education policy. We are very much looking forward to working with them.”
“Our university has a long tradition of international cooperation” says Prof Ralf Hemmingsen, Rector of the University of Copenhagen. “Becoming part of LERU is a crucial step to gain more impact at the EU level. Through collaboration and knowledge exchange with other member universities, we will be able to increase the impact of our research and education activities in Denmark and worldwide.”
Prof Patrick Prendergast, Provost & President of Trinity College Dublin, says: “We are delighted that Trinity is joining this network of prestigious European research universities. The partnership will enable us to build even stronger links with like-minded institutions and to be at the forefront when it comes to shaping EU research policy. All this will benefit our whole university community.”