New strategy to shape our global role
Our new ‘internationalisation’ strategy is now officially in place, setting out how, where and when the University will build and consolidate its important international relationships in the future.
“We have a long and fruitful history of international links with many countries and organisations all over the world – such as our partnership with the University of Copenhagen – but this is the first time that the University has had a clear strategy that lets us focus on and build strong, strategic and high-quality relationships that are really beneficial to both parties,” says Dr Judith Lamie, international director.
“In the past, our international relationships have largely been between individual academics or small research groups. Consequently, we’ve had quite a low international profile compared to some other universities.
“Our aim now is to establish fewer, but deeper and better managed overseas partnerships. The University’s developing relationship with Osaka University in Japan – with whom we recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding – is a model of how we want to establish future international ties.”
Establishing successful international relationships is a careful, time-consuming process, as Adam Getliff, of the University’s Enterprise and Innovation Office, explains: “In the case of our relationship with Osaka, we knew that Japanese institutions were actively looking for international collaborations and that initiatives would be supported by the Japanese and UK governments as well as European and G8 funding councils.
“The Japan Working Group was set up at the University in 2009 and part of its remit was to establish the type of organisations that would make a suitable partner. We initially approached Osaka University – which is one of the top ranked universities in Japan – to explore collaborations in translational medicine, and found that they matched Leeds in terms of capability, willingness and capacity.
“Further work was done to understand the culture at Osaka and follow up contacts with the British Embassy and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. This led to a better understanding of how the two organisations might work together,” continues Adam.
In 2009, colleagues from the Faculty of Medicine and Health visited Osaka and this trip helped cement personal relationships and confirmed that the research being carried out at the Leeds Dental Institute (LDI) and the Osaka School of Dentistry was complementary and that a formal partnership would benefit both parties.
A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)* was signed in July 2010 by Dr Margaret Kellett, Dean of LDI and Professor Toshiyuki Yoneda, Dean of the Graduate School of Dentistry, Osaka University. “This collaboration will facilitate joint research between two of the world’s foremost centres in dental research. It is a milestone for the University and for the advancement and exchange of ideas and new ways of working. It will allow our combined resources to focus on global issues in the field,” says Dr Kellett.
It’s hoped that a further MoU will shortly be agreed in the area of regenerative medicine, linking Osaka to the University’s world-leading Institute of Medical and Biomedical Engineering (iMBE).
Our relationship with the University of Osaka and other Japanese contacts will be further strengthened this November when our Vice-Chancellor Michael Arthur makes a week-long visit to the country. Whilst there, he will attend a special reception held at the British Embassy for the University’s Japanese alumni. Amongst the guests will be Toyota Boshoku’s President and CEO Dr Shuhei Toyoda.
“It’s the first time such an event has been held in Japan, and is a great opportunity to bring together alumni from different industries and institutions to network and create new links,” says Dr Lamie. “This will further raise the University’s profile in Japan and enable us to build our presence in the country.
“With the international strategy and model of approach in place, the University is in the process of establishing International Regional Working Groups (IRWGs) to develop links in a particular country or sub-set of countries: East and South East Asia; Africa; Middle East and North Africa; South and Central Asia; North America; Europe; Latin America and the Caribbean. The IRWGs will help us assess and define the value of potential strategic international collaborations in a planned, focused way, which will lead to more sustained and valuable partnerships in the future.”
The benefits of going global
- An internationally diverse, vibrant community of students and staff.
- Creates a range of opportunities for overseas learning experiences for all students.
- Encourages regular staff exchange and overseas visits.
- Actively engages with alumni across the globe.
- Builds and sustains formal and informal international networks.
- The University establishes a high-profile international reputation for the quality of its research and teaching.
- A research and teaching programme that crosses national boundaries and so opens up increased sources of funding.
* A Memorandum of Understanding is a non-legal agreement between parties, which states their common desire to work together for the same objective or goal.
Image caption: Taking an international approach (l-r): Claire Mulholland, Adam Getliff, Bing Liu, Judith Lamie and Mary Anne Ansell