A picture of a trio playing tin whistles at the Irish World Academy
Pablo Grzeskow, UC3M, Mariangela Boe, Yerun Office and Heidi Tovsrud Knutsen, University South East Norway pictured with tin whistles at the Irish World Academy in UL. Below, the group being taken on a campus tour by Marketing and Communications Director Laura Ryan Pictures: Alan Place
Monday, 20 March 2023

University of Limerick hosted a large gathering of European university leaders as part of the three-day Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN) General Assembly.

Taking place from March 14-16, the event saw 23 presidents and rectors from institutions across Europe attend and take part in a host of activities on campus, as well as visiting attractions across the region.

YERUN, founded in 2016, brings together like-minded young research universities in Europe, with the primary objective of raising the voice of young universities in Europe via a dedicated strategic representation and lobbying action and strengthening their cooperation, maximising opportunities to collaborate in areas of mutual interest and benefit.

UL joined the network in February 2021 and UL President Professor Kerstin Mey said: “It is important to see the continued thriving of the network and UL is privileged to be included among the ranks of a cluster of highly ranked, young research universities in Europe.

“By hosting the YERUN General Assembly on our wonderful campus and as a research-led University, we can continue to play our part in the vital need to advance coordinated efforts to address the grand challenges facing society in imaginative and sustainable ways.

“YERUN has to be a key player in how the European research landscape is being transformed and how the respective impact is being evaluated.

“On so many levels, the universities of the YERUN network will be key to this exploration and transformation and there were rich exchanges throughout the three days of our engagements here,” Professor Mey added.

During a whistle stop tour of the campus, led by Marketing and Communications Director Laura Ryan, the group were brought to the Bernal Institute and to Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, where they met Associate Director Niall Keegan, who gave the visitors a lesson in using the tin whistle.

During their stay, the group also visited Bunratty Castle, went on a visit to Limerick city including to the Treaty City Brewery and attended a talk on campus by Dr Jamil Salmi, Emeritus Professor of higher education policy at Diego Portales University in Chile and Research Fellow at Boston College’s Centre for Higher Education.

What is YERUN?

‘The voice of young research universities in Europe’

YERUN – the Young European Research Universities Network – was founded in 2016 and currently counts 23 members from 16 European countries.

It brings together like-minded young research universities in Europe and represents the voice of those universities in Brussels.

Each member institution has a coordinator who are the main point of contact with the secretariat – in UL this is Josephine Page, Director of UL Global

YERUN’s vision and mission is to:

  • Shape a higher education environment where young universities have a true impact on the role and nature of academic pursuit, by being inclusive, responsible, open and innovative, and by enabling talent to grow in all its dimensions
  • Influence and advise on EU policies in order to shape the future of universities and to have a true impact on the role and nature of higher education in Europe
  • Promote collaborative and transformative activities among members, with a view to facilitating connections, learning from each other and achieving greater impact
  • Showcase the achievements made by young European research universities through a dedicated communication strategy boosting their visibility at international level

YERUN plays a key role in policy advocacy:

Thanks to its representation in Brussels, YERUN is a key stakeholder in the development of EU policies in research, innovation and education. The YERUN Office is regularly invited to formal and informal consultations organised by the European Commission, thereby having the opportunity to co-shape future policies that have an impact on the opportunities for young research universities. In such advocacy work, the YERUN Office is supported by the YERUN Policy Platform, composed of experts from YERUN member institutions.


YERUN fosters collaborations among its members, in many fields of common interest. Collaboration is encouraged primarily via the YERUN groups (YERUN Coordinators, YERUN ad hoc groups, Research Support Offices group, YERUN Awards officers group, etc) and via collaborative schemes such as the YERUN Research Mobility Awards and the YERUN Open Science Awards.

For more, see www.yerun.eu.