Universitas 21 (U21) is the leading global network of research intensive universities. The University of Birmingham is not only proud to be a member of such a group, but also to be a founding member.
Professor Michael Sheppard, U21 Manager "There are numerous ways in which staff and students can engage with U21. The network provides them with amazing opportunities to collaborate and share experiences on the international stage"
The University is strongly committed to the underlying principles of U21. These are:
a global focus and perspective
a commitment to excellence in all we do
a commitment of those involved to collaborative and co-operative work and spirit while ensuring there are clear outcomes
a determination to achieve added value
a constant striving for innovation and the creation of multilateral opportunities for members
sustainability of activity
The U21 network facilitates collaboration and co-operation between member universities on a scale that none of them would be able to achieve through operating independently or through traditional bilateral alliances. We have taken a leading role in the network throughout the 14 years of its existence and have steadily increased our involvement for the benefit of our staff and students, encouraging increasing numbers of students to spend some time studying at U21 partner institutions, and enabling staff to increase their international perspective through involvement in U21 strategy meetings and events.
U21 nurtures collaborative initiatives and has established a number of international academic groups that support this. The University has engaged with many of these including the Health Sciences Group, the Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies, Heads of Administration, International Operations, Marketing, Museums, Teaching and Learning, Deans of Education, Deans of Engineering, Information Services, Heads of Geography and Student Mobility. These groups offer staff the opportunity to network amongst peers and to share best practise through conferences, workshops and projects.
Opportunities for University of Birmingham staff and students
There are numerous ways in which University of Birmingham staff and students can engage with U21 including Staff Fellowships, PhD Scholarships, Undergraduate Travel Bursaries and several overseas Summer Schools hosted by U21 partners. The International Office advertise and recruit to these over the course of the academic year. Further details for current staff and students can be found on the University of Birmingham U21 intranet pages, or email: email@example.com
U21 Celebration Event, June 2012
The Universitas 21 celebration event took place at Hornton Grange on June 6th, giving U21 award winners the chance to meet each other and be congratulated on their achievements in a relaxed setting.
Attendees represented the different awards that the University offers which support travel to and engagement with U21 partners including Staff Fellowships, PhD Scholarships, undergraduate travel bursaries for year abroad students and a number of different summer placement bursaries. The event was attended by students and staff due to travel in the forthcoming months, and also some returning U21 award beneficiaries who shared their international experiences. A wide variety of destinations were evident showcasing the global networking opportunities the awards offered within U21 – India, Australia, America, Guatemala, Mexico, Korea, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Canada, Holland and Ireland.
Matt Clulee, the University’s U21 Project Officer, welcomed guests and said: ‘The staff and students here today should be commended on their success in achieving awards through very competitive application processes against many other outstanding candidates. The benefits for the University are evident here today in having ambassadors of real academic excellence from the University of Birmingham travelling to our valued U21 partner institutions.’
Returning award winners will be asked to submit reports, disseminate their work and act as champions on promoting U21 to future applicants.
December 2011 U21 Early Careers Research Conference
In December 2011 the University hosted the U21 Early Careers Research Conference in December 2012. Forty-one participants from 10 countries attended, from Australia, New Zealand, North America, China, Sweden, Ireland, Mexico, Singapore and the UK, representing 16 U21 member universities: Auckland, Connecticut, Dublin, Edinburgh, Fudan, Glasgow, Hong Kong, Lund, McGill, Melbourne, Monterrey, New South Wales, Nottingham, Queensland, Singapore and Birmingham. ‘Healthy Living’ was the conference theme and delegates were from a wide variety of research backgrounds including biosciences, medicine, mechanical engineering, sociology, biostatistics, primary care, psychology, and sport and exercise sciences who all focus on key global issues such as the ageing society and obesity.
The workshop received very positive feedback throughout in regard to its goals of international networking opportunities and advanced training for researchers. Invited speakers and trainers alike were rated highly by the delegates, who also appreciated the opportunity to meet international colleagues at similar career stages in related fields. There was also the opportunity for our own graduate students to present their research and interact with their international colleagues.
U21 Member Universities
University of Birmingham
University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
University of Nottingham
United States of America
U21 jointly-awarded PhD project
The University has signed a memorandum of understanding along with thirteen other Universitas 21 institutions to establish a unique framework for jointly awarded PhDs.
The project aims to foster the internationalisation of graduate research programmes and enhance student mobility and exchange. This exciting programme will enhance considerably students’ research and employment opportunities on an international scale.
Collaborative degree programmes lead to a more sustainable type of relationship than many other internationalisation strategies and bring important academic benefits, including: knowledge transfer and sharing of research, learning and resources; international research collaboration; improved employment prospects for students; enhanced recruitment of excellent graduate students, and access to additional sources of student financial support. For students of these jointly awarded PhDs this means an academic research programme enhanced by the collaboration of two different high-quality research environments and cultures, training and facilities of two research-intensive universities, the added value of international networking and a head start in future career planning and professional development
Under this scheme, two partner universities create a tailor-made programme of study for the student, taking their specific research needs into account and enabling collaboration with another U21 university. Each institution will allocate the student a minimum of one supervisor whom the student will have actual or virutal joint meetings with. The student will also enjoy access to the same facilities as other students enrolled at that institution.
A jointly-awarded PhD is a qualification given to a student on completion of a collaborative programme established by the partner institutions and is characterised by:
meeting the academic requirements of both universities
agreement regarding a lead university
a single degree awarded for one PhD thesis
parchment(s) issued which indicate that there has been joint supervision