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Published: 17 April 2019

UGPN Conference April 2019

From 1-3 April, academic and professional service staff from the University of Surrey, the University of São Paulo and the University of Wollongong travelled to Raleigh in the US to participate in the University Global Partnership Network (UGPN) Annual Conference, hosted by North Carolina State University.

University Global Partnership Network logo

The Conference provided a unique opportunity for staff from world-leading Universities based across four continents to come together to share ideas on global research challenges as well as other opportunities for collaboration. This year’s Conference saw four major themes:

  • One Health and Global Health
  • Sustainable and Smart Cities
  • Data Science and Big Data
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

In addition to the research workshops, interactive panel discussions focusing on ‘University and Industry Partnerships’ as well as ‘Women in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)’ encouraged attendees to consider the various modes of collaboration that lead to innovation, as well as ways in which women and girls can be supported to pursue opportunities in STEM studies and research.

The UGPN supports a Research Collaboration Fund (RCF) to foster international research collaborations, enabling staff to work together on areas of mutual interest. To date the fund has supported 56 bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral research projects, facilitating collaborative work in priority areas such as Environmental Air-Quality, Sustainability, Forensic Science, Health and Wellbeing, Quantum Materials and Entrepreneurship. The call for RCF proposals 2019 is now open, with a deadline of 31st May. Applicants should visit the online platform for more information.

This year also saw the launch of the Dual PhD programme between UGPN partners the University of Surrey and the University of Wollongong. This exciting new initiative will provide a unique opportunity for doctoral students to study in the UK and Australia, receiving doctoral degrees from both partners and supported with a generous full studentship. 

The UGPN Executive Committee agreed in principle for a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and this agreed direction will help shape the future UGPN strategy. A new UGPN brand and logo was also approved as well as ambitious plans to increase UGPN impact and profile. A new website will also be launched soon. Building on the momentum of this year’s conference, future efforts of the consortium include staff mobility between the universities, Dual PhD programmes between all UGPN partners, more integrated access to research infrastructure and capabilities, and a plan to expand the network to bring more global coverage. It was confirmed that the University of Wollongong will host the UGPN conference in 2020.

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