The Welfare and Social Fund

General Information

The aim of the Welfare and Social Fund is twofold:

  1. To help researchers if they are in acute and urgent financial difficulties, so serious that they constitute a major hinderance to a normal research work.
  2. To give financial assistance to any social activities or events that are outstanding, particularly deserving, organised by researchers within the European University Institute, and giving to all researchers a chance to participate or benefit.

The Fund is financed mainly by annual contributions from the President of the Institute, and supplemented by the revenues from the June Ball and Bar Fiasco.

The fund is under the responsibility of the Reps and is managed by four Welfare Fund committee members, who are nominated from the Reps Assembly in representation of each Department.

The Reps currently responsible for the Welfare and Social Fund are:

What kind of things qualify for help from the Fund?

The general answer would be: anything to do with the welfare or social benefit of the Institute’s researchers. It is impossible to list every situation which would qualify for help from the Fund, because every request is judged on its own merits. However, what we can give you is an example of the kind of things we’ve supported over the last years:

  • Medical costs in the case of serious or prolonged illness
  • Help with travel costs in the case of unexpected family and personal problems
  • An aid in case of suspension of grant due to pregnancy/giving birth in the cases of grants which do not provide maternity allowance
  • Problems arising from the low level of some government grants, not in terms of a direct financial transfer to compensate for this, but in order to help these researchers pursue anything which is deemed necessary for their research and which they otherwise might not be able to do
  • Contributions towards research related activities, when the costs are exceptionally high and all other funding sources have been exhausted
  • Extremely serious computer-related problems which are costly and which often mean a suspension of the researcher’s work. In any case the Fund will NOT buy you a new computer if your old one suddenly dies! Because computer-related problems are usually very expensive, and the number of requests so high, there is a limit to the amount of assistance the Fund can give in these cases
  • Any social activities such as musical events, discussion groups or the like which are arranged by researchers themselves, and which give all the researchers at the Institute an opportunity to participate in, or benefit from.

These are examples of where the Fund could help out, but it is not an exhaustive list, and it is not a guarantee that all such applications will get funding. Given that cases and circumstances vary so much, every case is discussed on its own merits.

What kind of help can I get from the Fund?

As a general rule, the Fund can help out financially in two ways: through giving a grant (non-repayable) or a loan (re-payable within a negotiated timeframe). A combination of both can also be awarded (part-grant, and part-loan). The decision as to which option is taken depends on the nature of the problem, and the amount of money in question.

In the case of a grant, the money will be transferred into your account as soon as possible after all the relevant details are given to the Welfare Reps.

In the case of a loan, you’ll be asked to sign a “Loan agreement” in which are specified the obligations of the borrower and when the loan is to be repaid. The repaiment of loans is a very serious obligation; in extreme cases the WSF Fund reserves the right to request the Academic Service not to award any degree or certificate to a borrower that refuses to honour her/his loan.

What are the criteria?

In the case of welfare issues, the main criteria is always a financial one: how much does the researcher really need assistance from the Fund? Depending on the situation, a number of different factors might be taken into account, such as the nature/seriousness/urgency of the problem, level of the national grant, amount of money being asked for, and so on.

With social activities, the only criteria is that they are organised by researchers, with the provision that it is an activity which all researchers can either participate in, or benefit from. Beyond that, we’re open to any suggestions…

The Welfare and Social Fund has limited resources, and there are many demands upon them. So we try and urge applicants to use it as a last option, when all others have been exhausted. Depending on the situation, other options could include departmental funds, or Academic Service in terms of grant problems ([email protected]). If you’re not sure what other options you have, then we can give you some advice.

How do I apply to the Welfare and Social Fund?

Fill-in the Welfare and Social Fund application form, outlining what the situation is, and how you would like the Fund to help out, and send it to us at [email protected]. The members will then meet as soon as possible and discuss the application, and will get back to you with their decision. To understand the rules of application and functioning of the Welfare Fund, please consult the Statute of the Welfare and Social Fund.

It will help process your application if, when you apply, you give us as much information and supporting documentation as possible, especially if you’re asking for a larger amount of money.
In case of welfare applications, the applicant must provide documentary evidence to support her/his application (in the form of bills, letters, etc.). The applicant shall also provide evidence of her/his household’s income and family status (married, children, etc.). All the information is taken into account in the WF decision.

In case of applications for social initiatives, a draft budget and receipts of the expenses are typical evidence that the WSF Committee will take in consideration in order to take a decision.

Confidentiality?

YES. Confidentiality is assured by a special procedure: only the members of the Welfare and Social Fund committee, and in controversial cases the Reps Assembly, are informed about the person’s identity and specific case.

However, confidentiality is no more assured in case a researcher refuses to repay a loan without providing any convincing evidence. The Welfare and Social Fund Committee will communicate the problem to the EUI Administration in order to find a satisfactory solution. At that point personal data will be necessarily known to people other than the Reps.