With Covid-19 still having a dramatic effect on European society, the LERU Rectors’ Assembly adopted a statement on the role research-intensive universities can play in creating societies that are resilient and sustainable in the face of this and future challenges. This covers their contributions through research, through education, and in shaping public policy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated severe turbulence worldwide, testing the capacity of societies to cope with and adapt to a unique shock. While the health dimension of the crisis was at the forefront of response efforts, strong interdependencies with institutional, social, economic, and environmental variables rapidly emerged.
The current crisis stresses the need to build resilient and sustainable societies that can navigate the complex global challenges of the 21st century. Scientific research is the most reliable source of information to tackle these challenges. Scientists have and will continue to play their part to help prevent, react to, and recover from shocks that affect different parts of society.
LERU universities commit themselves to further develop the networked university of the 21st century, as places that improve lives through groundbreaking research, education and transfer to society. We see this as our most important contribution, within wider collective processes by many governments, businesses, and civil society, to build more resilient and sustainable societies.