Call for proposals 2019 - One new EIBURS sponsorships under the EIB Knowledge Programme - 2019 EIRBUS - 2019 Closed!


EIBURS provides grants to university departments or research centres associated with universities in the EU, candidate or potential candidate countries working on research topics of major interest to the Bank. EIBURS sponsorships — of up to EUR 100 000 per year for a period of three years — are awarded through a competitive process to interested university departments or research centres with recognised expertise in the selected area. Successful proposals entail the delivery of a variety of outputs that will be the subject of a contractual agreement with the European Investment Bank.

For the academic year 2019/2020, the EIBURS programme is seeking proposals on a new research theme: ‘Incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Criteria in Credit Analysis and Ratings’


This project represents an open-ended research effort on a subject where little academic work has been developed. In this context, it is premature to provide detailed information about the methodological approach to be followed. In fact, one of the first outputs of the research efforts will consist in identifying a relevant research methodology. However, at this early stage, it is envisaged that the research should follow certain tasks in order to arrive at a workable methodology:

  1. Analysis of the related literature: thorough and exhaustive search of the related academic and practitioner literature. ESG factors are widely believed to have an impact not only on firm value but also on credit ratings, even though, and as previously indicated, relatively little academic work is available on the subject.
  2. Collecting the base data: collecting the data to be used to perform analysis of various models and approaches. Should include detailed data on credit risk as well as ESG and climate risk criteria across sectors and geographical locations. One key aspect of this project is the data accuracy and quality, and in particular the ability to rely on a sufficiently long sample of historical data.
  3. Analysing the data: while the main focus of the research should be to understand the impact of ESG factors in credit ratings, an analysis of the impact of credit returns should be also included as part of the research project. As part of this effort, the assessment of the relative importance of the three factors, E for Environmental, S for Social, and G for Governance should be performed, for both the individual stock and the sector level.
  4. Testing and calibration of structural credit risk models: design a methodology that would allow for formal integration of ESG factors into credit ratings. Analyse the relationship between ESG factors and credit risk priced by financial markets, and explore the implications in terms of credit rating and analysis methodology. An effort should be dedicated to the proper fine-tuning and calibration of the models so as to ensure that they are suited not only for the analysis of the usual macro and micro financial risk factors, but also of non-financial risk factors.
  5. Scenario analysis: the previous analysis should provide an ex-post perspective on the impact of ESG factors on credit risk, but it does not have the ability to inform decision makers on the expected impact of extreme events or scenarios (e.g. climate scenarios) on a forward-looking basis. In this context, scenario analysis is expected to be of relevance in completing the measurement effort for the impact of ESG factors on credit ratings from an ex-ante perspective.
  6. Robustness checks: a number of robustness checks should be performed, including performing a sort on credit ratings to try to show whether securities with low ESG scores generally show more subsequent return volatility than securities of the same rating with high ESG scores. A thorough analysis to assess whether the introduction of additional quantitative indicators from steps 4 and 5 should help explain away the cross-sectional differences in return volatility that are not explained solely by differences in credit ratings.
  7. Design of a formal methodology for the integration of ESG factors in credit ratings: on the basis of the research work conducted, a comprehensive methodology for the integration of ESG factors into credit ratings is expected to be proposed.

European community funding

The Community provisional funding available for the call for proposals is:

  • 0,10 Million EUR (Global Budget)

All the important deadlines

  • 15 April 2019 - 2 years ago (Deadline for the presentation of proposals)

Further information about the call

Official webpage of the call

Useful documents

  • Call for proposals 2019 - One new EIBURS sponsorships under the EIB Knowledge Programme - 2019 (Legal base)

Organisations eligible to participate

Opened to the following bodies or institutes with legal status established in the covered areas:

  • Any legal organisation

Covered areas

Bodies or institutes must have their registered legal seat in one of the countries taking part in the Programme which are:

  • European Union (EU)

Directorate-Generale responsible


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