The European Investment Bank channels most of its institutional relations with universities through an EIB-Universities Research Action consisting of three different programmes:

  • EIBURS, the EIB University Research Sponsorship Programme,
  • STAREBEI (STAges de REcherche BEI), a programme for financing young researchers working on joint EIB-University projects, and
  • EIB University Networks, a cooperation mechanism for university networks showing characteristics that are of particular relevance to supporting the objectives of the EIB Group.

EIBURS provides grants to University Research Centres working on research topics and themes of major interest to the Bank. EIB sponsorships, of up to EUR 100 000 per year for a period of 3 years, are awarded through a competitive process to interested university departments or research centres, associated with universities of EU, accession or acceding countries, with recognised expertise in EIB-selected areas, so they can expand their activities in these areas. The successful proposal will entail the delivery of a variety of outputs (research, organisation of courses and seminars, networking, dissemination of results, etc.) that will be the subject of a contractual agreement with the Bank.

For the academic year 2009/2010, the EIBURS programme has selected a new line of research:

  • Urban Development Funds in Europe: Opportunities, Structures, Operations

Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA), a policy initiative of the European Commission and the EIB, is designed to promote Urban Development Funds (UDFs), i.e. financial engineering instruments supporting investment in sustainable urban development. JESSICA responds to the need to assist the renewal and transformation of European cities, and address the scarcity of investment funds for PPPs and projects complying with integrated and sustainable urban development criteria.

The initiative is meant to foster the growth of a new segment in the European investment fund market, populated with investment vehicles specialised in identifying and investing in sustainable city assets and supporting urban transformation operators capable of achieving sustainable urban development outcomes. This emerging segment of the fund market shares some similarities with existing instruments, such as infrastructure funds, real estate funds and ethical funds, but combines some of their features into new organisational structures relying on specific governance modes, professional skills, analytical and networking capabilities.

The proposed research programme should focus on this emerging segment and characterise its forms in the different European countries and regions. The programme should review the state of the art and current thinking on UDFs, contributing to bridge the gap between the professional and the academic community. It should also take into account urban development processes in Europe and their medium-long term impacts on the demand for urban assets and services and the associated investment requirements. One of the key objectives of the programme is to provide UDFs, as investors in sustainable urban development, with a better understanding of the risks and opportunities associated with long-term investment in European cities. The successful proposal is expected to demonstrate the ability to combine the candidate's research capabilities, experience and data resources with the extensive documentation made available by the studies commissioned by the EIB through the JESSICA initiative.

The proposed research programme is expected to lead to deliverables, including:

  • papers for publication in academic and professional journals,
  • organisational/operational templates for UDFs, including legal structures, performance principles and criteria, methods and benchmarks to assess and manage asset portfolios,
  • training modules for long-term investors, including specialists and professionals engaged in UDF-type urban operations and projects, financial structuring and advisory/technical assistance.

The deadline for presentation of proposals is 30 November 2009. Proposals submitted after this date will not be considered. Proposals should be sent to:

EIB-Universities Research Action
100, boulevard Konrad Adenauer
L-2950 Luxembourg
For the attention of Ms Luísa Ferreira, Co-ordinator.

For more exhaustive information on the EIBURS selection process and on the other programmes and mechanisms, please visit: