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EUA’s policy activities in the area of research and innovation are led by the Research Policy Working Group (RPWG), which serves as an advisory body to the EUA Board and Council in preparing and promoting EUA policy positions on behalf of its membership. It also maintains a regular working dialogue with the relevant European institutions and other main European stakeholders in research and innovation policy. The initial activities of RPWG started in 2004 and its meetings have been organised regularly since then.

RPWG is comprised of members drawn from the EUA Board and nominations received from National Rectors’ Conferences. The RPWG members hold leadership responsibilities for research and innovation activities in their respective universities combined with substantial knowledge and experience of European research funding instruments and policy developments. Since 2009, the RPWG has been chaired by Professor David Drewry, EUA Vice-President. It is composed of is composed of 21 members representing their national rectors’ conferences. RPWG meetings take place three times a year (see below list of meetings).

The RPWG agenda covers key areas of importance for Europe’s universities in European research and innovation policy including:

  • The development and implementation of the Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020)
  • European Research Area policy development and the related Joint Statement signed between EUA and the European Commission DG Research and Innovation 
  • The work of the EUA-European Platform of Universities in Energy Research & Education within the European Energy Research Alliance of the EU SET-Plan, and Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge programmes in energy
  • The role of universities in the implementation of the European Regional Development Funds and the European Social Funds for research and innovation activities related to regional economic and social development through the Smart Specialisation Strategy
  • The implications for universities of the ‘EU Digital Agenda’, namely in the area of Science 2.0/Open Science.

The Research Policy Working Group has the following terms of reference:

1.  Its status is that of an Advisory body appointed by and reporting to the EUA Council.

2.  Membership is comprised of members drawn from the EUA Board and nominations received from National Rectors’ Conferences. Nominees should be university Rectors or Vice Rectors for Research with strong interest in European research and innovation policies and funding instruments and have substantial experience in their own institutions. If a Rector’s Conference has its own Research Policy Committee, the nomination of the Chair or member from such a committee would be particularly welcome. 

3.  Membership is “ad hominem”, should be normally for three years, with possibility of one three-year extension to ensure a degree of continuity.

4.  Its main terms of reference are (i) to review European research and innovation policy development of importance to Europe’s universities; (ii) to advise on the preparation of EUA positions and statements on European research policy initiatives; and (iii) to propose and promote new policy instruments to strengthen the position of Europe’s universities as main stakeholders in the European Research Area.

5.  In addition, it establishes and maintains a working dialogue with the European Commission and with other major stakeholders in research and innovation policy, business, non-university research institutions, national funding agencies, etc. through their respective European associations.

The RPWG is chaired by Prof Martine Rahier, EUA Vice-President, and is composed of 20 members representing their national rectors’ conferences.


Prof. Martine Rahier, EUA Vice-President (former Rector, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland)


Prof. Heinz Engl, Rector, University of Vienna, Austria

Prof. Ignace Lemahieu, Director, Research Department, Ghent University, Belgium

Prof. Dr. Ing. Zdeněk Kůs, Rector, Technical University of Liberec, CRC Vice-President for creative activities, Czech Republic

Prof. Thomas Bjørnholm, Prorector, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Prof. Kalervo Väänänen, Rector, University of Turku, Finland

Prof. Pierre Mutzenhardt, President, CPU, University of Lorraine, France

Prof. Horst Hippler, President, HRK, Germany

Prof. Lokesh Joshi, Vice-President, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Prof. Maria Cristina Messa, Rector University of Milano Bicocca

Mr Jan Mengelers, President, Eindhoven University of Technology; Vice-President, VSNU, the Netherlands

Prof. Dag Rune Olsen, Rector, University of Bergen, Norway

Prof. Lech Dzienis, Rector, Białystok University of Technology, Poland

Prof. António Cunha, Rector, University of Minho; President, CRUP, Portugal

Prof. Rudolf Kropil, Rector, Technical University in Zvolen; President, SRK, Slovakia

Prof. Martin Čopič, Vice Rector, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Prof. María Teresa Roldán Arjona, Vice-Rector for Research, University of Córdoba, Spain

Prof. Helen Dannetun, Vice-Chancellor, Linköping University; Chair, SUHF, Sweden

Prof. Sezer Şener Komsuoğlu, former Rector, Kocaeli University, Turkey

Prof. Richard Davies, Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University, UK 

The RPWG meets three times a year to discuss EUA’s position and activities in relevant research and innovation areas.

For a list of previous meetings since 2010, please see this document.

RPWG maintains also a regular working dialogue with the relevant European institutions and other main European stakeholders in research and innovation policy. Recent RPWG meetings have involved an exchange of views and discussion with the following leading actors:

  • Professor Peter Haring-Bolivar, Chair of the EUA Expert Group on Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3); Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation, University of Siegen, Germany (February 2016)
  • José Cotta EC, Head of Unit C3 – Digital Science, DG Connect (November 2015)
  • Professor Jane Francis, Director of British Antarctic Survey, University of Cambridge (May 2015)
  • Dr Jean-Claude Burgelman, Head of Unit ‘Science policy, foresight and data’, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission (26 February 2015)
  • Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President, European Research Council (ERC) (5 November 2014)
  • Professor Bernard Rentier, Rector, University of Liège (BE), representative of EUA in the Open Access to Scientific Publications working group within the MoU (20 March 2014)
  • Dr Octavi Quintana-Trias, Director, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission Representative at the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) 
    (21 November 2013)
  • Professor Luc Soete, Rector, University of Maastrich (NL), Chairman of the European Research and Innovation Area Board (6 June 2013)
  • Dr Leopold Demiddeleer, Director of Solvay Future Businesses, and President of the European Industrial Research Management Association (EIRMA) (7 March 2013)
  • Professor Geoffrey Boulton, University of Edinburgh, UK, Chairman of the Royal Society Initiative on “Science as an Open Enterprise” (7 June 2012)
  • Dr Stefan Zotti, Cabinet of European Commissioner Johannes Hahn, DG Regional Policy (6 March 2012)
  • Dr Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General, European Commission Directorate for Research and Innovation (3 March 2011 and 21 November 2012)
  • Professor Helga Nowotny, President of the European Research Council (22 November 2010)
  • Professor Anders Flodstrȍm, Vice-President of the Governing Board of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (25 February 2010)

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
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Tel: +32 (0) 2 230 55 44

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