Leaders of European top universities in Helsinki

The League of European Research Universities (LERU) was established in 2002 as a community of twelve universities with the aim of promoting European basic research taking place in universities. The leaders of the twelve universities are now convening for the first time in Helsinki.

LERU’s purpose is to stress the importance of basic research and defend the interests of basic research and research universities. The universities in the League were selected on the basis of an objective evaluation on certain disciplines, and the University of Helsinki was the only Finnish one to be accepted. The only other university selected from the Nordic countries is Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

The charter of LERU states that basic research, i.e. seeking knowledge for its own sake, is crucial to the development and future wellbeing of mankind. Basic research also offers a foundation for university teaching and sets universities apart from vocationally oriented institutions of higher education. Industry, however, is not sufficiently interested in basic research, and prefers to concentrate on applied research, for which reason the funding of the former needs to be secured from other sources.

The representatives of LERU universities are convening for the first time in Finland from 24 to 25 May, 2003, at the invitation of Rector Kari Raivio. The agenda of this fourth LERU meeting includes discussion on the EU Sixth Framework Programme, the status of basic research within the EU constitution, and improving co-operation between LERU member universities.

The LERU member universities are the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Geneva, Helsinki, Leiden and Oxford, as well as die Ruprecht-Karls-Universität zu Heidelberg, de Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, l’Università degli studi di Milano, die Ludvig-Maximilians-Universität zu München, Karolinska Institutet i Stockholm and l’Université Louis Pasteur à Strasbourg.

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