LERU obtains Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council


The League of European Research Universities (LERU) is pleased to announce that it has been granted ‘Special Consultative Status’ by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). As a result, LERU can now actively engage with ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, as well as with the United Nations (UN) Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies in a number of ways. It will allow LERU to raise its voice about the importance of education, research and innovation worldwide.

The special status was approved in New York on 24-25 July 2018 upon recommendation by the Non-Governmental Organization committee of ECOSOC. As of now, LERU will be able to express its views and to influence the work of the Council through meetings, events, presentations, etc. LERU will, for instance, be able to provide expert analysis and raise public awareness of relevant issues related to research, education and innovation.

The League has been developing these ties for a few years, thanks to one of its members, the University of Geneva, where the UN has its second largest office. Already in 2015, LERU and its members signed up to the UN Academic Impact Principles (UNAI) at the occasion of the LERU Rectors’ Assembly of 15 and 16 May 2015, as hosted by the University of Geneva, and with Michael Møller, the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, as keynote speaker.  

UNAI is an initiative to align institutions of higher education, scholarship and research with the UN. It aims to generate a global movement of minds to promote a new culture of intellectual, social responsibility. It is driven by a commitment to such bedrock principles as ‘freedom of inquiry, opinion and speech’, ‘educational opportunity for all’ and ‘global citizenship’. By sharing ideas across borders and disciplines it should be possible to find solutions to many interconnected problems. 

Furthermore, the collaboration with the UN institutions is complementary to the global initiatives LERU started in 2014, in particular the envisaged creation of a "Global Council of Research-Intensive University Networks", with its sister organisations in the USA, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, East Asia, Germany and UK.

In the autumn of 2018, the annual meeting of this Global Council will take place in Geneva and will explore the recently created Swiss Science Policy Interface, whose mission is to enhance the mobilisation of science, technology and innovation actors to find solutions to complex global policy challenges confronting international organisations.

LERU Secretary-General, Prof. Kurt Deketelaere, reacts: “It’s obvious that research-intensive universities play a crucial role in tackling today’s global challenges. LERU and its member universities are looking forward to intensify their collaboration with the United Nations to speak up for the many research universities around the world on a variety of topics and to contribute to the realisation of the sustainable development goals”. 


  • Prof. Kurt Deketelaere, LERU Secretary-General,  or +32 499 80 89 99 
  • Media contact: Bart Valkenaers, Policy Officer,  or +32 498 08 43 49