LERU welcomes proposals for more secure research in the future


LERU is delighted by the new Proposal for a Council Recommendation on Enhancing Research Security, proposed by the European Commission and released today (24th January 2024).

LERU, an association of 24 leading research-intensive universities in Europe, is pleased that the European Commission has developed this comprehensive Recommendation to help address the many urgent and multi-faceted issues which researchers are facing in the current challenging global geopolitical context.

In LERU’s view, the Recommendation on Research Security presented by the European Commission provides an excellent framework for developing future activities in this challenging area.

LERU is pleased that the Recommendation puts universities at the heart of their own decision-making, thus engendering institutional autonomy in this area. While universities will be required to do their own initial security screening, it is reassuring to see that they will be supported in this through advice and guidance from research funders, and by public support structures such as national research security advisory hubs. The Recommendation has stressed the need for a consistent approach regarding risks and research security safeguards in EU and national funding schemes. LERU considers this to be a very sensible approach, thus calming fears that there would be a plethora of different requirements needed. Of course, this does not address the desire for greater harmonisation with international schemes, such as those from the National Science Foundation, or National Institute of Health, but it is a great first step. First steps first.

Furthermore, LERU is delighted that the European Commission wishes to develop tools and resources to help universities in performing their due diligence and risk assessment into prospective partners. We note that one recital mentions that some EU legislation and rules could benefit from interpretative guidance, and we would strongly support any such guidance regarding intangible technology transfers, the interpretation of open science principles, IP management and on visa requirements for researchers as mentioned in the document. LERU has often noted the need for specific tools for due diligence, and clearly the European Commission has been listening to concerns. This will particularly help with informal university collaborations where the risks may be more challenging to assess.

Finally, LERU is very pleased with the reference to the need for ongoing dialogue with universities in this fast-moving area, and the EC's plans for a biennial EU stakeholder forum on research security.

Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General of LERU, stated that the Recommendation was

‘comprehensive, timely, and just what was needed to help universities and research organisations in this difficult and nebulous area. The EC has been listening to our concerns and we look forward to the developments which arise from it, particular those which will improve our knowledge and response in this fast-moving area’.


Prof. Kurt Deketelaere, LERU Secretary-General, or +32 499 80 89 99
Dr Claire Gray, LERU Senior Policy Officer Biomedical & Natural Sciences, or +32 484 77 46 37

Media contact:

Bart Valkenaers, LERU Senior Policy Officer Strategic Communication & Public Affairs, or +32 498 08 43 49