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Group of batonbearers with Queen's Baton in Canada
From left: Professor Tim Jones and Karen Mossman with Batonbearers Adam van Koeverden, Andrew Davies, Briana Da Silva, Grey Fairley, Annika Fairley and Gerry Wright.

University of Birmingham experts joined their Canadian counterparts to lead a series of high-profile public events exploring how researchers can help to solve global challenges.

Organised in partnership with McMaster University, in Hamilton, the events covered research areas including healthy aging and air pollution and celebrated the arrival in Canada of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay, of which the University of Birmingham is an official partner.

The Queen’s Baton Relay events are underpinned by Commonwealth-wide celebrations for staff, students and alumni and the #gamechangingbirmingham campaign.

Eleven Batonbearers carried the Baton across the McMaster campus where it was welcomed by Karen Mossman, Vice-President, Research at McMaster University and Professor Tim Jones, Provost at the University of Birmingham. The Baton bearers included Canadian MP and former Olympic canoeist Adam Van Koeverden, as well as McMaster staff and students, sportspeople and schoolchildren.

These exciting events with McMaster University bring our universities closer and allow us to connect with the Canadian public. Birmingham is a global university with a civic heart and we are delighted to support BATP events in Canada that will place our home city and the wider West Midlands firmly in people’s minds as a great place to visit and do business.”

Professor Tim Jones, Provost at the University of Birmingham

Speaking about the Baton’s arrival in Canada, Professor Tim Jones commented: “The University of Birmingham is a civic university with a global outlook. Our Commonwealth connections are deep and wide-ranging.

“Sport is a unifying force and, as part of our commitment to supporting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, we are holding a series of academic, student and partner events in Commonwealth countries to coincide with the Queen’s Baton Relay visit.

“These exciting events with McMaster University bring our universities closer and allow us to connect with the Canadian public. Birmingham is a global university with a civic heart and we are delighted to support BATP events in Canada that will place our home city and the wider West Midlands firmly in people’s minds as a great place to visit and do business.”

The universities are also establishing a three-year joint Projects and Ideas Fund to identify, establish and develop future high-impact research projects and student education initiatives with an annual budget of C$120,000/GBP70,000.

Karen Mossman commented: “There is huge potential to expand our research partnerships with the University of Birmingham, with synergies in research areas like air and water quality, infectious disease, sport and exercise, and aging, to name just a few.”

She added that the Projects and Ideas Fund will identify and support opportunities for future research partnerships with real-world impact.

The University’s environmental scientists have helped create a hi-tech ‘heart’ for the Queen’s Baton, which contains atmospheric sensors with laser technology that analyses the environmental conditions wherever it is in the world. Augmented Reality (AR) will be used to visualise creatively data captured throughout the journey to invite conversations around air quality across the Commonwealth.

Data collected on the Baton’s journey will contribute to ongoing research projects being conducted across the globe by a team led by atmospheric scientist Professor Francis Pope who said, “Atmospheric data captured during the Baton’s global journey will be highly valuable in starting important conversations around air quality across the Commonwealth.”

  • 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, teachers and more than 9,000 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The University has the most extensive education partnership of any Commonwealth Games and will host the athletes in its student accommodation, as well as providing a venue for hockey and squash.

About the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay

  • The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Games tradition that celebrates, connects and excites communities from across the Commonwealth nations during the build up to the Games.
  • Birmingham 2022 is staging the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay – an epic journey across the Commonwealth, with The Queen’s Baton visiting all 72 nations and territories, reaching Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas.
  • The Relay began on 7 October 2021 at a special event at Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed Her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton.
  • The Baton will travel for 294 days, visiting all 72 nations and territories and connecting communities in every corner of the Commonwealth, embracing unique cultures and sharing stories. 
  • This collective journey will ignite hope, solidarity and collaboration for the next generation, with these stories leaving us all inspired to take on the challenges that matter most to us. 

About the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games  

  • The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be held from 28 July until 8 August 2022, will be a major opportunity to feature the city, the region, and its people on the global stage.   
  • The Games is already proving to be a catalyst for transformation across the West Midlands, attracting new investment and funding, creating jobs and apprenticeships for local people and new opportunities for local businesses, as well as accelerating projects that will ensure the region is ready to host a fantastic sports and cultural celebration.   
  • Birmingham 2022 will be the Games for everyone, bringing people together from across Birmingham and the region, to provide a warm welcome to millions of visitors during the summer of 2022.