The White Rose Brussels Office was established in 2015 with the purpose of long-term strategic positioning of the three White Rose Universities to key stakeholders in Brussels. The objective was to influence EU research policy, as well as horizon scanning, information gathering and profile raising in key research and policy areas. The project was funded for an initial three year period, followed by an extension of a further two years.
The external environment has changed significantly since 2015, with the UK’s evolving relationship with the EU, and more recently with the impact of COVID-19. The Universities have decided to pursue a different strategy, and the Brussels Office project has been closed. The Universities’ relationships in Europe continue to be important, and this new approach will allow greater flexibility in this changing landscape. The Brussels Office has also provided a valuable learning experience on working in Brussels in this time of major change.
The Office held Engage with Brussels events allowing researchers to collaborate with European colleagues, and hosted strategic events in the European Parliament on topics ranging from sustainable food systems, human robot interactions, European health challenges and air quality and climate change. The strategic events attracted high profile speakers such as Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development and Gerda Verburg, Assistant Secretary-General to the UN with registered attendees totalling over 700 across all events. As well as hosting events, the White Rose Brussels Office supported European Student Recruitment colleagues, hosted alumni events, produced reports on diverse subjects such as EU housing policy challenges, the future of EU-UK student mobility and funding opportunities for social sciences and humanities. The office also hosted 3 interns per year (one from each university) on a 9-month internship, many of whom have secured employment at high profile institutions.
The Brussels Office has delivered a range of achievements, which are summarised in the Achievements of the WRB Office