U21 Welcomes KU Leuven to its Prestigious Network of Global Universities

It is with great pleasure that Universitas 21 welcomes KU Leuven, Belgium, to its leading global network of research-intensive universities.  KU Leuven becomes the fifth member of the network from Europe, and, for the first time, brings the number of countries in the network to eighteen.

KU Leuven Library
KU Leuven Library

Rector Luc Sels (KU Leuven) said: ‘In the eighties and nineties, KU Leuven took the lead in creating the first generation of European university networks. Since then, it has been fostering institutional networks to share expertise and provide an innovative international environment for joint research activities and international opportunities for its staff and students. With its research-intensive approach, KU Leuven is an important player on the international scene, and we’re eager to share our expertise with the U21 members.’

Professor Bairbre Redmond, Provost of U21 commented, ‘We are delighted to welcome KU Leuven to our network of world class, research-intensive universities.  Their ambitious, globally-focused strategy is fully In line with U21’s founding principle of fostering the internationalisation of higher education.  Earlier this year KU Leuven once again topped Reuters ranking of Europe's most innovative universities. This not only demonstrates the quality of KU Leuven’s research-driven education, and their world-class research, but also their commitment to innovation. The university’s goal of applying research solutions to big societal and economic questions also aligns well with U21’s own aims, in its focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We know that KU Leuven will bring great strength to the network and we are very pleased to extend our membership into another European country’.

Almost 600 years old, KU Leuven is one of Europe’s oldest universities. KU Leuven is also the highest-ranked university in Belgium, ranking 45th worldwide according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020. The Times Higher Education Rankings by Subject also show that all KU Leuven faculties are in the top 100 for their field, with half of them even in the top 50.

The institution has five long-term transversal projects with an impact on all policy domains: Truly International, Future-Oriented Education, Going Digital, lnterdisciplinarity, and Sustainability. These five projects, central to the KU Leuven Strategic Plan, involve active participation in international networks and priority partnerships as major internationalisation priorities.

KU Leuven joins a group of research-intensive universities which share best practice across Student Experience, Researcher Engagement, and Educational Innovation through the work of U21, in order to offer some of the best teaching and learning experiences in the world.


Rachel Edwards