Thee League of European Research Universities (LERU) is a network of 23 research intensive top universities in Western Europe. LERU develops and disseminates their vision on research, innovation and higher education by providing policy advice, taking position and designing consultation structures / events to shape policy on the EU level.
In the past, the strategy of the LERU institutes with regards to the field of ‘Global Health’ has been to compile an European research agenda that was a representation of the collective specialities, priorities and reputations of all the individual institutions. However, experience showed that the overall impact of this was sub-optimal, due to limited coordination of research projects, which sometimes overlapped, only limitedly complemented each other or even competed for the same sources.
In May 2018, an initiative was started to come to ‘collective impact’. During a two-day Future Search Conference in July 2019, the research institutes worked together on defining their ‘shared ambitions’ – a shared vision and goals on Global Health research. To this end, the individual stakes and the European interest were explored and understood together.
Based on the shared ambitions, they subsequently determined a collective research agenda and developed a strategy for improved knowledge sharing and advice for effective financing. Only then did they divide the tasks/responsibilities for the research projects among the LERU research institutes. These were submitted for approval to the European Commission for the new Horizon research programme.
It was the first time that coordination and collaboration were sought and found in this way on a complex challenge (the European role in research on Global Health) that asks for a more integral mindset and approach.