International collaboration is a crucial strategic objective, key to delivering the most far-reaching outcomes for our research.
Our commitment to developing and building on these collaborations is evidenced not only by strong partnerships between specific research groups with those in leading international institutions (e.g. Northwestern University Chicago, Mayo Clinic Rochester, Erasmus University Rotterdam) but also by University investment to support partnerships such as the Universitas 21 network partner University of Melbourne and establishment of University offices in China (Guangzhou, Shanghai), Brazil and India.
Integration of international staff members
Integration of international staff members is actively supported by specific induction and welcome packs, regular meetings, surveys and through focus groups. A dedicated Marie Curie Researcher Society supports our international fellows for whom we are a favourite destination, reflected by the 11th position of the University amongst 842 European institutions in winning Marie Curie fellowships, and researchers in UoA1 have contributed to this significantly. 23% of our staff members are non-UK nationals (14% EU and 9% other internationals).
International Engagement Oversight Committee
The College has an International Engagement Oversight Committee with academic champions for different regions (Africa, Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, India, USA), supported by senior academic management and the UoB International Office.
EU Networking Task Force
This is exemplified by our dedicated EU Networking Task Force that drives participation in EU-funded research through targeted networking and proactive matching of researchers with FP7 and Horizon2020 research calls. This strategy is systematically supported by the dedicated EU Funding Support office within the UoB Research and Innovation Services, further enhanced by the University of Birmingham EU office in Brussels, opened in 2010, which provides a venue for UoB academics to meet with collaborators for EU projects.
The office facilitates direct input into EU research policy, connections with European institutions including the EU’s Joint Research Centre, as well as face-to-face meetings with EU stakeholders, thereby enhancing our ability to form pan-European partnerships and respond to calls in a most timely and effective manner. Reflecting the success of this strategy, the last EU monitoring report (2012) has stated that the University of Birmingham has advanced to 24th place amongst all HEIs taking part in FP7 in terms of signed agreements, with the European Commission making a special note of our progress: ‘The biggest jump was demonstrated by the University of Birmingham (UK) - from 37th position in 2011 to 24th position in 2012’.
The University of Birmingham is at the top of UK and European organisations in winning Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) grants offering PhD training with integrated international exchange; the University of Birmingham is number 1 out of 842 with regard to numbers of coordinated ITNs and within the top 20 of all organisations for ITN grants awarded, again with a significant contribution of Birmingham UoA1 researchers to this success.
Outside the EU, overseas partnerships and training for our doctoral researchers s are grown and facilitated through financing Overseas Work Experience Placements and developing Joint Degrees between UoB and U21 partners in areas germane to UoA1: the recently created MDS/University of Melbourne Joint Studentship Programme being one such example.