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University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood (left) meets His Excellency Robert Wood Johnson.

The United States Ambassador visited the University of Birmingham to learn more about the University’s research and global footprint.

His Excellency Robert Wood Johnson met a number of senior figures at Birmingham and talked to world-leading experts to discover how the University operates at the cutting edge of research.

The Ambassador met Professor David Hodson to learn about how insulin-secreting beta cells can be made to work better during diabetes. He also talked to Professor Alberto Vecchio and Professor Andreas Freise about Gravitational Wave Astronomy.

He then took the opportunity to view the Birmingham Qur’an manuscript among other treasures in the University’s Cadbury Research Library which is home to the University’s extensive special collections. The Birmingham Qur’an pages were revealed to be among the earliest surviving records of the holy text.

The University has a very successful American football team and hosts an annual American Football event called xpLosION. Ambassador Johnson, who was Chairman and CEO of the New York Jets prior to taking up his appointment as Ambassador, met the incoming and outgoing team student Presidents Charlie Pearson and Jonny Stewart during his visit.

Ambassador Johnson was welcomed to the University by Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Robin Mason, before meeting Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood.

Professor Sir David Eastwood commented: “I am delighted to welcome our distinguished guest to the University of Birmingham and demonstrate to Ambassador Johnson that our research is advancing scientific understanding and changing lives around the world.

“Our US partnerships are key to ensuring we continue to produce research that has global reach and impact. We continue to grow our relationships with American collaborators and the number of joint publications continues to increase - from 454 in 2009 to 890 last year.”

The University encourages staff and student mobility with the US and has one of the largest undergraduate exchange programmes among UK institutions helped by its long-standing American and Canadian Studies programme. 

There are currently 161 full-time US students at Birmingham, as well as a large number of incoming exchange students and Birmingham students studying at partner universities across the US. University of Birmingham students can also intern in the US, including with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the British American Business council. There are also 63 academic staff from the US.

The University of Birmingham is an important partner of the US-UK Fulbright Commission offering more partner awards than any other UK university. The University of Birmingham offers Fulbright awards for both Masters and PhD programmes, as well as hosting Fulbright post-doctoral students and academics to undertake research at the University. Birmingham hosted the Fulbright Forum in January, the inaugural event in the 70th anniversary year of the US-UK Fulbright Commission, and was selected to host the Fulbright EU Schuman 70th Anniversary Migration Scholar.

For the first time in Summer 2018, the University will host one of the Fulbright Commission’s popular summer Institutes for American undergraduates. The three-week Summer Institute will focus on Film and Media and Birmingham will be one of just nine UK Fulbright Summer Institutes.

Ambassador Johnson said: “I am impressed by the world-class breakthroughs in science and technology being made by the University of Birmingham. Most Americans will be very interested in these innovations, so we need to spread the word about the great work being done at Birmingham. There is a feeling of vibrancy about the University, and the city of Birmingham, that I have picked up during my visit.“

President Donald J. Trump nominated Robert Wood Johnson to be United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s on June 22, 2017. The United States Senate confirmed Ambassador-designate Johnson on August 3, 2017. In the Oval Office he was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence in the presence of President Donald J. Trump on August 21, 2017. He presented his credentials to the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office on August 29, 2017.

For more information, please contact: Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0) 121 414 8254 or +44 (0)782 783 2312. Out-of-hours enquiries: +44 (0) 7789 921 165.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Ambassador Johnson is the Founding Chairman of the Lupus Research Alliance and worked for many years with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The missions of these charities are to cure, treat and prevent Lupus and Type 1 diabetes and Ambassador Johnson has raised millions of dollars on behalf of these organizations.
  • He has served on the President’s Export Council, the President’s Commission on White House Fellows and he is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.