May new headlines

06 May 2012
Welcome to the May ebulletin with the latest news and items of interest to staff and students across the Universitas 21 network.

U21 to announce Ranking of National Higher Education Systems on 11 May

We are looking forward to announcing the results of the first U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems on Friday 11 May as part of our Annual Presidential Meeting.  The U21 Rankings is a study which has been developed to highlight the importance of creating a strong environment for higher education institutions to contribute to economic and cultural development, provide a high-quality experience for students and help institutions compete for overseas applicants.

The results will be revealed to U21’s Presidents and Vice-Chancellors at the Lund meeting and will also be released to the world’s media, presenting the findings and conclusions drawn from the study. 

Details will be published on our website on 11 May (UK time)



Presidential Symposium taking place at Lund University

The seventh U21 Presidential Symposium will take place at Lund University on 10 May as part of the Annual Meeting of Presidents and U21 Managers.  This year’s topic isThe Role of Universities in Today's Learning Society: The Knowledge Triangleand includes keynote speeches from Professor Hans de Wit (Hogeschool van Amsterdam), Professor Susan Borrás (Copenhagen Business School) and Professor Michael Shattock (Institute of Education).  The programme is packed with speakers and discussions on three key topics –The Global University; Universities acting with social and global responsibilityandGoverning universities for global challenges.  It promises to be a highly interesting and engaging day and at the end will draw together thoughts on how individual universities and U21 as a network can develop the conclusions reached. ;


Health Sciences group launch video competition

After the success of the U21 UNMDG Student Photography Competition in 2011, the U21 UNMDG group is very pleased to launch the 2012 U21 UNMDG Student Video Competition.  The competition is to encourage students who are involved in UNMDG (United Nations Millennium Development Goals) community placements, projects or activities to record their experiences and share these with other interested students and academics via the U21 MDG4HEALTH website. The competition’s theme is to show what your university/faculty/school/student group is doing or implementing to help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.  All undergraduate and graduate students across the U21 network are welcome to enter.  There will be two prizes of US$750 each towards travel expenses to attend and present during the U21 UNMDG workshop in Auckland (3-4 September 2012).

More details can be found at ;


Teaching & Learning Network Conference registration

The U21 Teaching & Learning Network (TLN) has opened registration for its 2012 Conference, taking place in Singapore from 8 to 9 November.  The conference’s theme isTowards Transformative Education in the 21st Centuryand focuses on three sub-themes -Student-Centric Learning;Broadening of Educational ExperienceandCultivating Global Citizenship. 

Further details can be found on the U21 website at ;


Digital Humanities Conference 2012 dates announced

The third U21 Digital Humanities workshop will take place at Lund University from 19 to 21 September 2012.  The conference will haveInterfaces - Digital studies of culture and cultural studies of the digitalas its theme. Provisional session titles includeDigital heritage and digital preservationandTeaching and learning - the digital classroom.  Early Career Researchers and graduate students will be welcome to attend, as well as established academics and practitioners in this area.

Registration will be online at


Queensland appoints new VC

The University of Queensland has appointed Professor Peter Høj, currently the Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia, as its new Vice-Chancellor.  Professor Høj  is a former Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Research Council and his current roles include Deputy Chair and Lead Vice-Chancellor (Research) of Universities Australia, and board member of CSIRO.

Speaking on the appointment, John Story, the university’s Chancellor said “Peter has excellent credentials to build on the tradition of Vice-Chancellors who have elevated UQ’s national and international stature. They have overseen tremendous contributions by staff, students and alumni to the Queensland, Australian and international communities. In this regard I sincerely thank Professor Debbie Terry, who is providing invaluable leadership as Vice-Chancellor, and has been a key contributor to UQ’s academic direction for many years.”

We look forward to welcoming him to the network.

The full press release can be read at


New manager for U21 student experience initiatives appointed

We are delighted to announce that Sue Dengate has been appointed to the U21 Secretariat team to take responsibility for U21’s student experience initiatives.  Sue has been working for the University of Queensland in Hong Kong for a number of years and is now relocating back to Australia, taking up the position in early June.  With a change of focus on U21’s student-related activity, the role has been developed into a full-time one which is more strategically focused.  We thank Louise Kinnaird, outgoing SMC, for all her hard work over the past three years and look forward to this new development in U21’s student activity.

Undergraduate Research Conference registration online and scholarships offered!

Registration for the 2012 Undergraduate Research Conference, taking place at Waseda University from 1 to 6 July, is now open.  The URC will take the themeConnecting to the Futureand welcomes students from all disciplines to consider how their studies relate to this topic.  Students will also have the opportunity to publish their research in the University of Virginia's undergraduate journalThe Oculus. 

Each U21 member university can nominate up to three outstanding undergraduate students. One student is to be nominated for an oral presentation, another is to be nominated for a poster presentation, and the other may be nominated to either category.  Besides the three students, one staff or faculty member from each university will also be invited to the conference.

A special scholarship from the Japanese government is now available for student participants of the URC 2012.  JPY 80,000 will be given in cash to the student participants at the end of the conference if the conditions of the scholarship are met.

For more details, please log on to ;


Changes in U21 Managers

We say goodbye to two U21 Managers in the coming months.  Ross Lewin, currently Executive Director of the Office of Global Programs and U21 Manager for the University of Connecticut will be leaving UConn to take up the post of Associate Vice President for International Affairs at the University of Maryland.  We will be very sad to see him leave the network, but wish him every success in his new role.

Also on the move is Fiona Docherty, currently Director and Head of Student Recruitment at the University of Glasgow.  Fiona, however, will remain a part of the U21 family, as she is moving to the University of New South Wales to take up the position of PVC International.  Jennie Lang, whom Fiona will take over from, is moving on to take up the position of Vice-President of Advancement at UNSW. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Fiona in her new role on the other side of the world!


Birmingham and Nottingham developing links with Brazil

The arrival of visiting fellows from Brazil recently marks just one of many growing links the Universities of Birmingham and Nottingham are developing with the South American country.  A group of 16 early career lecturers and post-doctoral researchers from universities in Brazil will spend the next three months at the in Birmingham and Nottingham carrying out identified research projects in areas such as Chemistry, Dentistry, Mathematics and Earth Sciences.

In addition to the Visiting Fellows scheme, both universities are offering 10 three-year full fee PhD scholarships specifically for Brazilian students for commencement in October this year.  A living allowance for each PhD scholarship student will be provided by the Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES).  Subject areas include energy, food security, globalisation, neuroscience, astronomy, the digital economy, and global infection and healthcare, though students from any discipline can apply for these awards.

Coinciding with these schemes, the two universities have partnered with the State of São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) on a joint research investment fund worth £480k.  The fund will support joint research projects between FAPESP-funded researchers and from both UK institutions. 

We are delighted to see two of our members working closely together in this way and would be pleased to hear of any other initiatives.


 Happy birthday Universitas 21!

Universitas 21turns 15 this year, a milestone in the life of our network, formed in 1997 by twelve universities.  Of those twelve founding members, eleven are still very actively engaged, with the membership having doubled since then, broadening the network’s international reach and strengthening the global ties.  U21 is flourishing and about to enter an exciting new period of growth and development.  Thank you all for your involvement and commitment to the network – U21 is a really excellent example of international networking in operation!