LERU rectors debate on new European research and university policies

The 40th Rectors’ Assembly took place on the 19th and 20th of November.

The 40th Rectors’ Assembly took place on the 19th and 20th of November.


The rectors of the 23 member universities of the League of European Research Universities ( LERU ) took part in the 40th Rectors’ Assembly hosted by the University of Cambridge this November. The rector of the UB, Joan Guārdia, attended this meeting, which counted on the participation of the UB lecturer and director of ISGlobal, Antoni Plasčncia, on behalf of the European Global Health Research Institutes Network ( EGHRIN ). Plasčncia presented the new European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA).

As stated by the rector Joan Guārdia, "the LERU Rector’s Assembly shows once more that transnational collaboration is an essential tool for guaranteeing that university and research systems continue to break down the frontiers of knowledge". Guārdia noted that "in a context of global challenges, accelerated by the pandemic, research excellence requires regulatory frameworks, resources and cooperative structures that enable us to join efforts and create dynamics of mutual learning".

In this meeting, the LERU Secretary-General, Professor Kurt Deketelaere, presented the current state of the debate on the European Research Area (ERA) pact and its governance, as well as the state of the European Strategy for Universities (ESU). Deketelaere highlighted again that LERU wants "seats and votes" in the ERA forum. Other topics were the latest issues regarding research, education and innovation in the EU. LERU is one of the promoters of a manifesto from the R&I European community to promote the debate on R&I questions within the Conference on the Future of Europe and beyond.

During these two days, the members of the assembly also presented and debated on several documents and declarations. They approved on the study on the evaluation of research titled Towards a LERU Framework for the Assessment of Researchers, carried out by Professor Bert Overlaet, chair of the LERU CARE Policy Group. Also, three declarations were approved. The first, on the range and proper use of the survey results that are conducted in order to find out the students’ degree of satisfaction: Concerns and recommendations on the use of student satisfaction in measuring teaching quality, carried out by the LERU Learning & Teaching Policy Group. Another approved declaration was Research-intensive universities call out the importance of sustainable investment and procurement in tackling climate change, carried out by the LERU members that take part in the Sustainability Ad Hoc group, and last, a declaration on the urgent need for defending the protection and control of data used in the academic and research fields, promoted by Professor Paul Ayrics of the University College London (UCL). The creation of these documents and declarations counted on the participation of the UB representatives that take part in the corresponding LERU working groups. Both the League of European Research Universities and the University of Barcelona will echo its publication over the upcoming weeks.

During the meeting, the results of the last LERU Doctoral Summer School were presented. This summer school was dedicated to the analysis of the role of the expert in Europe, and it was organized by the Trinity College Dublin. In this year’s edition, the UB, which has participated in this summer school for eleven years, sent two predoctoral researchers who were selected in a competitive public call for applications, from the Department of Sociology and the Department of Catalan Philology and General Linguistics, respectively.

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