Aston Webb buildings, University of Birmingham

The geopolitical environment of international business has significantly changed n response to increased nationalism globally. Yet the current trend for de-globalization should be seen in context of varying appetites for international integration across the 20th century. The joint University of Birmingham – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign BRIDGE project will study the political and diplomatic strategies developed by multinational corporations in times of deglobalisation. In the present times, hostility to globalization and renewed calls for protectionism have created a challenging political environment for multinational corporations. Drawing on historical experiences, we will study how multinationals have adapted to deglobalisation and nationalism in the past and how those experiences provide insights to understand the current deglobalisation. The project builds on previous collaboration by the investigators and will focus on developing high quality publications and a publicly accessible short-form book on the history of multinationals.

Professor Stephanie Decker, Professor of Strategy and joint Deputy Dean of Birmingham Business School, has been successful in gaining funding with her collaborator Prof Marcelo Bucheli, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Gies College of Business, for their project on “De-globalization and geopolitics - the impact of economic nationalism and economic security on business diplomacy, and corporate political activity” (DeGEO). This project is supported by the BRIDGE seed corn fund and will explore joint and comparative research on the subject.

The “Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education” (BRIDGE) was signed in March 2014 by the University of Birmingham’s Vice Chancellor and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Chancellor at the University of Illinois. The BRIDGE agreement establishes a framework for creative knowledge exchange across disciplines through frequent, purposeful, face-to-face meetings between faculty, staff and students at both undergraduate and graduate levels. What makes the BRIDGE partnership so distinctive is that it is genuinely multi-disciplinary, with over 70 cross-faculty links spanning Biosciences, Economic and Physical Geography, Psychology, Neuroscience, Environmental Genomics, Railway Engineering, Maths, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, American & Canadian Studies, Classics, History of Art, African Studies, Cultural Heritage and Education.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Birmingham jointly established the BRIDGE Seed Fund of $200,000 to stimulate wider academic engagement between the two universities. The BRIDGE framework aims to deepen these existing collaborations and develop wider faculty networks to: build cognate research areas; expand educational exchange opportunities; and strengthen strategic aspirations for institutional engagement. To this end, the institutions have established a joint BRIDGE Seed Fund to which permanent full-time faculty member at each institution are encouraged to apply.


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