Reporter 447, 21 February 2000

Universities develop a special relationship

Leeds is one of eight leading universities launching a transatlantic partnership to take advantage of the growing global markets in teaching and research.

Members of the new alliance, provisionally entitled Worldwide Universities Network (WWUN), are Sheffield, Southampton and York universities in the UK and California (at San Diego), Pennsylvania State, Washington (at Seattle) and Wisconsin-Madison universities in the US.

Other major universities around the world will be invited to join the group to establish a global alliance of leading universities.

The alliance was launched as Education Secretary David Blunkett announced a new UK internet-based higher education project ‘e-University’, to be managed by the HEFCE. Welcoming the WWUN, Mr Blunkett said: "This seems to me to be the way forward, that universities in this country with a great deal of credibility and standing join together with those in Europe and the US and make it work."

The universities have agreed to collaborate initially on research, postgraduate degree programmes and continuing professional development. They plan to produce common courseware, establish joint PhD supervision and develop common benchmarking standards.

The initial focus of the collaboration will be on nine areas where the partners excel, including environmental technology, systems engineering and comparative public policy. Leeds will be leading on biomedical informatics and biotechnology and knowledge management. A particular emphasis will be to develop joint ventures in technology transfer and attract private sector support for these activities.

University Vice-Chancellor Alan Wilson said: "The alliance has far-reaching consequences for the delivery of higher education in the emerging global market. Together we can develop and sustain learning materials of the highest international standards, and extend opportunities for all our students and staff."

Initial briefings have been held at Leeds and workshops involving the four UK partner universities are taking place this month and next.

See In The News or click here to view the press releaseMore
The HEFCE website also has more information
or a list of contact details are available here
some further details about the project is available here

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