The United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS), established in 2001, is one of the research and training institutes of the United Nations University (UNU) network. UNU is the academic arm of the United Nations, headquartered in Tokyo. The network consists of 16 institutes and programmes worldwide, engaging in research and capacity development in order to support the universal goals of the UN. Through UNU, leading scholars from around the world are brought together to generate innovative and policy relevant knowledge, contributing to a brighter future.
The specific mission of UNU-CRIS is to foster a better understanding of the processes of regional integration and cooperation and their implications in a changing world order. UNU-CRIS specialises in the comparative study of regional integration, monitoring and assessing regional integration worldwide and in the study of interactions between regional organisations and global institutions. As of October 2016, UNU-CRIS is cooperating with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Ghent University.
UNU-CRIS acts as a think tank for the UN, with particular links to the UN bodies dealing with regional integration, and works in partnership with institutes and initiatives throughout the world that are concerned with issues of integration and cooperation.
The guiding principles and policies of the global UNU system are established by the UNU Council. Advice on research and capacity-building activities for UNU-CRIS specifically, is given by the institute’s Advisory Committee, composed of distinguished personalities from different regions of the world. The Director of UNU-CRIS, Philippe De Lombaerde, holds the overall responsibility for the research and management of the Institute. In order to pursue its academic goals, UNU-CRIS relies on a team of dedicated permanent academic personnel, non-resident associate research fellows, visiting researchers, interns and trainees.
UNU-CRIS is based in Bruges (Belgium) on the second floor of the premises of the Episcopal Seminary (Grootseminarie). It receives its core funding from the Flemish Government and is further supported by the Province of West Flanders. As a UN Agency, UNU-CRIS is also a member of the UN Team in Belgium.