Universitas 21

Universitas 21 (U21) is the leading global network of research-intensive universities. We are not only proud to be a member of such a group, but also to be a founding member.

We are strongly committed to the underlying principles of U21. These are:

  • Global focus and perspective
  • Commitment to excellence in all we do
  • Commitment of those involved to collaborative and co-operative work and spirit while ensuring there are clear outcomes
  • Determination to achieve added value
  • 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. We have taken a leading role in the network since its inception 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, offering staff the opportunity to network among peers and to share best practice 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 Relations office advertises and recruits 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

U21 jointly-awarded PhD project

We have, along with 13 other Universitas 21 institutions, agreed 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. Under this scheme, two partner universities create a tailor-made programme of study for the student, taking their specific research needs into account. 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
  • joint supervision; a single degree awarded for one PhD thesis
  • parchment(s) issued which indicate that there has been joint supervision