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White Rose universities to open Brussels office

Posted on 10 February 2016

The White Rose University Consortium - a strategic partnership between three of the UK’s leading research intensive universities: Leeds, Sheffield and York – has established a Brussels office as part of a long-term strategy to influence EU research policy.

The White Rose Brussels Office will work with key stakeholders on areas of research excellence supported by EU funding and which align with current EU research priorities. The office will also spot areas of strategic importance as well as strengthening name recognition of the three universities.

White Rose University Consortium European Public Affairs Director, Dr Phil Holliday, will head the office supported by an office manager and it will also offer Erasmus internship opportunities for students from the three universities.

The White Rose universities each have substantial alumni communities in Belgium and the Brussels Office will work with them to assist in profile raising. The office will build relationships with other Brussels-based liaison offices and relevant NGO influencers of EU research policy. Leeds, Sheffield and York have a long track record of successful collaboration, and the aim of the joint initiative is to deliver maximum value to each university.

The Office will offer hot-desking facilities for staff of the three universities working in Brussels. They will also have access to a meeting room that can be used for consortia meetings or other events.

A Steering Group including senior academics and administrators of the three universities as well as Craig Walker, Director, White Rose University Consortium, will oversee the office. There will be an official launch event on 7-8 April 2016. The Vice-Chancellors of Leeds and York and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield will attend together with a distinguished guest speaker who will be announced later. Following the official opening ceremony, there will be research theme based sessions by key academics from the three universities.

Craig Walker said: “Our Brussels office puts the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York at the heart of Europe. It will give us an ideal base to influence EU research policy and to work with stakeholders to broaden our relationships with European partners.”

Established in 1997, the White Rose University Consortium has helped the three universities to build on their individual strengths by working in partnership across research, enterprise and innovation and learning and teaching.  With a range of partners from the private and public sector, both in the UK and overseas, the Consortium has secured projects to the value of more than £150m.

Further information:

  • For more information on the White Rose University Consortium, please visit:
  • Before joining the White Rose University Consortium, Dr Phil Holliday worked for four years in Brussels at the UK Research Office (UKRO), the Brussels office of the UK Research Councils and was the UK National Contact Point for the European Research Council (ERC). He was seconded to the RCUK China Office in Beijing as Interim Deputy Director for eight months to facilitate UK-China joint activities and assisted in the development of the UK-China Newton Fund. Prior to that Dr Holliday, who completed a PhD in Biochemistry at Durham University, worked in the Business and Innovation Unit of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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