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 2010/2011, the EIBURS programme has selected three new lines of research:

  • Benchmarking European SME Credit Performance

There is a limited understanding amongst practitioners of the relationship between SME credit performance on a micro level and the macroeconomic situation they are faced with. The university research centre receiving support under the EIBURS would be expected to set up a research programme focussed on analysing the impact of changes in macroeconomic drivers on key credit performance indicators of SMEs within Europe. Among others, the impact of changes in economic growth locally and globally, interest rates and exchange rates on the delinquency, default, loss and prepayment rates would be investigated also allowing for measurement of contagion between regions, countries and effects of operations in different industries.

The EIB Group, through its EIF subsidiary archives comprehensive data on the performance of SME pools and individual loans. This data could be available for researchers use but proposals should include additional sources of information/databases that will be used.

The project may involve any additional activity that the University Centre would be ready to undertake with the sponsorship in the line of research, including:

  • organisation of courses and seminars
  • creation of additional databases
  • surveys.

Use of the EIF databases requires significant further due diligence and will likely require restrictions on the research that may be published based on them. In particular, permission of the financial intermediaries and possibly the final beneficiaries may be required. For this reason applicants are also expected to obtain data on their own.

The EIF databases contain SME loan data which includes: date of incorporation; geographic location; economic sector; number of employees; date of origination; maturity; default/non-default and ultimate recovery.

Further databases contain collateral information, typical of the data provided by loan arrangers to deal investors, specific to ongoing transactions that may provide complementary information on SME performance.

The EIF hopes to be able to work with the successful applicant to conclude the due diligence process and identify the data protection restrictions.

  • The History of European Infrastructure Finance

Faced with large fiscal deficits, many European governments are looking to forms of public private partnership (PPP) contracts as the way to deliver on promises to improve infrastructure providing public services whilst avoiding excessive public sector debt. In many countries, privatisation and regulation models have been applied to network industries for several years.

Long-term cycles of public and private ownership and investment in infrastructure can be seen across different European nations. Concession contracts can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, were widely used by the Romans, and given a modern form under the Napoleonic code. Most 18th and 19th century infrastructure (canals, railways, telegraphs, water supply, gas, electricity) was built using private capital, frequently with explicit or implicit public subsidies or other support. Many were subsequently taken into public ownership. The history of different infrastructure services illustrates how the nexus between technological innovation, infrastructure services and finance may develop in a variety of contexts. The debates at the time, alternative solutions and the long-term outcomes for the various actors involved, all have a resonance today. 

In this context, the EIB invites research proposals which seek to:

  • explore the longer term macro trends in infrastructure finance, the outcomes in terms of sustainable public service improvements, and their relevance to contemporary policy debates
  • develop case studies of technological and financial innovation in specific infrastructure projects and sectors, particularly those of a pan-European nature
  • catalogue and analyse the history of different public, private and mixed financing schemes for infrastructure construction and operation across different sectors and within different legal and national policy frameworks.

Applications are invited from European Universities, either alone or in partnership, proposing a research programme on the above topic. Under the EIBURS programme, the successful applicant(s) will be eligible for a grant of up to 300 000 euros over a 3-year period to fund new research on areas of European infrastructure finance history relevant to current policy debates. Research proposals that take a quantitative and qualitative, cross-disciplinary approach (e.g. history, engineering, economics, finance) and involve collaboration between academics from different European countries are particularly encouraged.  

The majority of funds should be used to employ new young researchers at PhD level to work on specific topics. Where relevant, the researchers may have an opportunity to collaborate with infrastructure sector experts at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. In addition, some funds should be used for dissemination events and to establish a network to connect experts on the history of particular infrastructure sectors in different countries.

  • The Economic Impact of Law: An Economic Assessment of the Impact of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive

One of the key components of solid waste management projects is the infrastructure required to recycle and/or recover packaging waste. According to the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the packaging industry has to recycle and recover the packaging that it puts on the market, but the countries are responsible for meeting the recycling and recovery targets listed in the Directive.

The research topic is to examine the economic impact that the legal obligations arising from the above mentioned Directive has had on the various actors involved: public authorities, market participants and citizens.

The economic efficiency of the measures imposed by the Directive from the perspective of cost/benefit analysis should be assessed. Issues such as the economic rate of return measured in terms of enhanced environmental protection and distribution of costs should be tackled (do EU citizens pay for the implementation of the Directive through higher prices of packaged goods, higher waste management tariffs and taxes or both? are the economic benefits in terms of environmental protection satisfactory when compared to alternative strategies? have the legal rules adopted proved effective in achieving the set aims?).

The research should target a representative sample of EU Member States.

The project may involve any additional activity that the University Centre would be ready to undertake with the sponsorship in the line of research, including:

  • organisation of courses and seminars
  • creation of databases
  • surveys

The deadline for presentation of proposals is 10 September 2010. Proposals submitted after this date will not be considered. Proposals should be sent to:

Electronic copy:


Hard copy:

EIB-Universities Research Action
100, boulevard Konrad Adenauer
2950 Luxembourg
To 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: