A promoter of cooperation between universities visited Helsinki

Kurt Deketelaere, Secretary-General of the League of European Research Universities (LERU), visited Helsinki on Monday.

Kurt Deketelaere

The visit to Helsinki was part of a tour where Deketelaere, appointed Secretary-General in July 2009, pays a visit to all 22 universities of LERU.

- After the Nordic countries, only the universities of the Netherlands are left to visit. They are so familiar to me that it actually feels funny to arrange official visits, says Deketelaere, who works as Professor of Environmental, Energy and Climate Change Law at the University of Leuven in Belgium.

Even though the Secretary-General regularly meets with university representatives, he always learns something new on location.

- When I visited the Paris-Sud 11 University in France, for example, they introduced a place where President Sarkozy is going to have a new campus built, connecting the university with other research institutes. I had heard about the project before that, but only once I had seen it for my own eyes did I realise how large an investment it represented. France really contributes to research: the aim now is to make other European countries follow suit.

On his university visits, Deketelaere meets with university management, and also with officials and deans. He appreciates large round-table conversations with as many as 20 people.

- In the discussions, it is easy to find out the topical matters at each university. I am happy to hear about both issues and the solutions found for them. An idea developed by one university may also be of help to others, says Deketelaere.

Deketelaere aims to approach researchers with theme-specific questions.

- Leading researchers are a huge asset. For example, we recently issued a statement on the social security coverage for highly mobile researchers. The statement authors included the leading social security experts of our member universities. One can hardly imagine a group of authors with more authority.

League of European Research Universities » »

Text: Juha Merimaa
Photo: Linda Tammisto
Translation: AAC Global

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