The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities

The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities

‌‌The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities officially launched at an opening symposium in November 2016 in the Bibliothèque Solvay in Brussels. The University of Glasgow is a founding member of this new group of nineteen of Europe’s leading universities from across thirteen countries and the Principal, Professor Anton Muscatelli, is the Guild’s vice-chair. 

Purpose of The Guild

The Guild is founded on four core pillars of engagement and activity:

  • Advocacy and Influencing
  • Policy Engagement
  • Innovation
  • Institutional Enhancement

Capacity building across Europe

The Guild will work closely with the European Commission, European and national parliamentarians, officials and others to secure outstanding strategic and practical outcomes that will benefit the myriad communities of Europe. The new network will provide a platform for

  • engaging with EU policy-makers,
  • promoting research collaboration and access to EU funding,
  • engaging with universities, and private and public institutions to continue the free flow of students, staff and ideas at the European level. 

Guild members

The Guild aims to be genuinely pan-European by extending membership to include a broader range of universities from across Europe. Member universities include:

  • Aarhus University
  • The University of Bern
  • The University of Bologna
  • Ghent University
  • The University of Glasgow
  • The University of Göttingen
  • The University of Groningen
  • Jagiellonian University (Krakow)
  • King's College London
  • University of Louvain
  • University of Ljubljana
  • The University of Oslo
  • University of Paris Diderot
  • Radboud University
  • University of Tartu
  • The University of Tübingen
  • Uppsala University
  • The University of Vienna
  • The University of Warwick.

4 July 2017

Funding for University of Glasgow staff

University of Glasgow staff can apply for the following funding opportunities if they are interesting in working with Guild members.

For both, members of the the Guild are classed as strategic partners.

Meeting updates: update on Brexit (January 2018)

An update on Brexit from Professor Conroy

At a January meeting of The Guild, Vice Presidents (Jim Conroy representing the University of Glasgow) focused on developing policy recommendations for the European Commission Directorate General (DG) Research and Innovation. In particular, the group focused on two related themes: Spreading Excellence and Framework Programme 9 (FP9).‌

Spreading excellence

It is generally understood that Horizon 2020 has not been as successful as envisaged, largely because it has carried little benefit or incentive for universities in the subset of EU 15 countries (older EU member states) that have enjoyed disproportionate success in the Framework and ERC calls. This has meant that infrastructure spend in EU 13 countries (member states which have joined since 2004) has not as yet been optimised. EU salary subvention has been insufficient to persuade many academics in EU 15 countries to move to (or back to) EU 13 countries.

The conversation is complex but The Guild will be recommending;

  • That more imaginative teaming and twinning arrangements are developed in FP9, which recognise the need for incentives for academics in the EU 15 especially North-Western European countries;
  • That Teaming and Twinning fund joint appointments that can be registered as Faculty in the North-Western European countries;
  • That the arrangements for teaming and twinning are both simpler and more flexible.


At the moment, the bid to the European Commission is for €120bn and a likely outcome may be c.€100bn, which would be without any UK contribution. The Commission currently holds the position that research should be protected, developed and supported but there may be further adjustments to budget when the Council of Ministers enters the negotiations. European Research Council grants are likely to receive substantial protection but funding of industrial partners will remain to the fore and is likely to be strengthened.

Strong reassurances have been given regarding the role of universities but some scepticism should be harboured about this as some indicators would suggest that FP9 will herald a shift from citizens to industry. Second Pillar themes are likely to be:

  • Natural resources
  • Health
  • Energy and climate
  • Digital Industries (which may comprise 18-20% of entire Framework amidst a concern that the EU is falling behind US and China)
  • Resilient societies

The European Innovation Council is likely to retain a strong share of funds, including the creation of a 3rd focus on funding innovation lag, as well as pushing innovation in the other pillars and supporting start-ups. In this it will improve access to risk finance and pathfinder commercialisation. It is also intimated that this will provide a non-bureaucratic and speedy way to fund innovation.

The Commission is developing ‘Missions’ for FP9 and it is proposed that there will be public involvement in determining what these are but they may include mapping the Biome.

There may also be a fund in the mainstream framework funding for supporting widening participation, which has been resisted by research-strong countries but, with the loss of the UK, the pressure for this is likely to grow.

There will be an increasing emphasis on innovation that creates value and with a horizon of 10-15 years.

Importantly, the intention is to keep the framework as open as possible to expand and facilitate the inclusion of non-EU partners – this is partly aimed at retaining the presence of the UK in FP9.

January 2018 

Upcoming Guild Policy Labs and events

Composed of some of Europe’s most distinguished research-intensive universities, The Guild is dedicated to enhancing the voice of universities in Europe for the benefit of research and teaching. It will engage politicians, officials, public and private companies through debate based on cutting-edge scholarship. The Guild’s members are committed to sharing their knowledge, experience and good practice, for the benefit of all members.

Throughout the year, The Guild organise a range of policy labs, workshops and events designed to engage leading researchers and policy-makers, discuss key challenges for European research policy, and explore how university research can help Europe’s economic, political and cultural challenges.

For more details of all recent and upcoming Guild events, please check: