Universitas 21 (U21) was established in 1997 and consists of twenty-three leading research-intensive universities across fifteen countries. The network's purpose is to facilitate collaboration and cooperation between member universities and to create opportunities for them on a scale that none of them would be able to achieve operating independently or through traditional bilateral alliances. The University of Amsterdam joined the U21 network in 2010.
The League of European Research Universities (LERU) is an association of twenty-two leading research-intensive universities that share the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research. Founded in 2002, LERU advocates education through an awareness of the frontiers of human understanding, the creation of new knowledge through basic research, which is the ultimate source of innovation in society, and the promotion of research across a broad front in partnership with industry and society at large.
The Institutional Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA), is a network of 42 universities, including the major Higher Education Institutions located in the European capital cities. It was founded in 1990 on the initiative of the Université Libre de Bruxelles. The mission of the Network, which has a combined strength of over 120,000 staff and 1,500,000 students, is to promote academic excellence, integration and cooperation among its member universities.
It also seeks to be a driving force in the development of the Bologna process and to facilitate the integration of universities from Central and Eastern Europe into the European Higher Education Area.