Universitas 21

Universitas 21 (U21) is the leading global network of research-intensive universities. 

Professor Sir David Eastwood

Professor Sir David Eastwood

Vice Chancellor

“As the current Chair of Universitas 21, I can say with confidence that not only are we delighted to be part of its global network of research universities but also proud to be one of the founding members. Since its inception, the University of Birmingham has always taken a leading role and we have continued to increase steadily 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 develop their international perspective through involvement in U21 strategy meetings and events.”

The University of Birmingham 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

Opportunities for University of Birmingham staff and students

Ben Giblin

MsC Physics and Astronomy

“In my opinion, the fantastic range of opportunities for international travel and study is the best thing about being a student at the University of Birmingham. In my time here, I’ve been sent to represent the university at a research conference in Tokyo and a Summer School in Sydney, as part of Birmingham's membership of the amazing Universitas 21 group.”

Dr Victoria Burns

Senior Lecturer in Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

“In a busy academic career, there are only limited opportunities to take time away from your day-to-day activities to focus on a specific area of interest. The U21 Staff Fellowships give you the time and the space to think, a network of good practice to explore, and the funding to make it happen!”

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 and conferences hosted by U21 partners. The International Relations office funds, advertises and recruits to these every academic year. 

Just some of the countries that our staff and students travelled to in 2018 with the support of University of Birmingham funding are: Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden and the USA. The full list of U21 member institutions is at the bottom of this page.

Further details on how to apply for current staff and students can be found on the University of Birmingham U21 intranet pages. Case studies showcasing some of our undergraduate and postgraduate students' fantastic experiences are on our U21 Student Opportunities page.

U21 BBQ group shot BEST

Above: University of Birmingham receipients of U21 awards at our celebratory Barbecue at Hornton Grange. Professor Robin Mason, Pro Vice Chancellor International and U21 Lead, is on the far right.

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

If you are interested in establishing a U21 Joint PhD please contact: