THELMAs 2014

The University of Birmingham has won the Outstanding International Strategy Award in the 2014 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs). The award honours Birmingham’s bold approach to secure its position in Brazil as the UK higher education institute (HEI) partner of choice.

Working with key stakeholders including government agencies, leading research institutions, HEIs and industry, Birmingham has developed flourishing partnerships that have led to enhanced grant capture, increased joint publications, increased student enrolments and plans to enhance education collaboration and mobility. Partners in Brazil particularly welcomed Birmingham’s investment of £2 million over three years as a sign of the University’s long-term commitment to Brazil.

Over the past academic year, the University of Birmingham has collaborated with all of the top 10 universities in Brazil and 17 of the top 20. This process has engaged more than 70 academics from Birmingham, with 224 jointly authored papers produced in 2012; a threefold increase from 2011. Elsewhere, there has been a 30% increase in media coverage on the 2011-12 figures in Brazil and Brazilian student numbers have increased, with Birmingham being placed in the top 10 UK destinations for Science without Borders scholars.

Peter Clack, Director of International Relations, said: "We were delighted to receive the THELMA award for outstanding international strategy for our work in Brazil. Over the past four years Birmingham has developed a distinct engagement strategy with Brazil that has helped to position us as a UK partner of choice with government, HEIs and industry.  

“Crucially it is the way in which my Brazil team has built a community of interest right across the University that has allowed things to move forward so quickly and so it is only fitting that they have been recognised in this way."

The judging panel consisted of 14 carefully selected and distinguished experts all working within the higher education sector. Speaking on why they chose Birmingham from the shortlist they said Birmingham showed a “long-term commitment as a serious and engaged partner”.

“Birmingham’s entry demonstrated a really strategic approach to increasing its engagement with universities in Brazil. By recruiting champions from across the disciplines, it ensured that new research collaborations and exchanges of staff and students would grow across the University. The result has been an increase in student recruitment, joint research and publications.”

“The award tops off a fantastic academic year for the University, where we have already been named The Times and The Sunday Times University of the Year 2013/4.”

Now in their sixth year, the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards are a highlight of the academic calendar and a celebration of the best of the UK sector. Competition was particularly fierce this year, with more entries than in any previous year. 

Birmingham’s victory was witnessed by more than 1,000 people, who gathered at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London for the awards on Tuesday 17 June.


For interview requests or for more information, please contact Ben Goodwin, International Media Relations Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254. For out of hours media enquiries, please call: +44 (0) 7789 921 165

  • The University of Birmingham is a truly global university producing world-leading research and is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Birmingham benefits from mutual partnerships with a wide range of international institutions and hosts a large international community of researchers and students. 
  • With almost 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries, and 31% of academic staff from overseas, Birmingham’s campus is truly a diverse and global place which attracts the brightest and best international students and staff.
  • The University collaborates with partners across the world to produce ground-breaking research, deliver innovative teaching, and to create opportunities for students and staff to gain international experience. Although Birmingham’s partnerships are wide ranging and span all continents, the University has identified China, India, Brazil and North America as key strategic regions in which they wish to develop more focused engagement.