Internationalisation of Higher Education

As an undergraduate student it was not at all obvious to me that universities were in fact part of a global enterprise! I had no appreciation that both research and scholarship benefitted so much from the creation of international partnerships and collaborations. There is now a vast collection of research data showing that international teams are significantly more effective in producing those key publications that transform research fields. Similarly, students graduating with degrees that have a component where time is spent working in international organisations have a far greater value than those where they remain solely within their home university.

As a researcher I was part of a global network of colleagues all working to understand complex phenomena in the area of chemical physics. It became completely second nature for me to work with colleagues outside of the UK and obtain funding and run conferences as part of an international team.

As a senior academic manager within a university, part of my job was to provide opportunities for staff and students and I took the responsibilities associated with this part of my job, very seriously. I created a number of international research partnerships in South East Asia with some of the top universities (Hong Kong University; Mahidol University, Bangkok; Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; etc), esteemed research organisations (RIKEN, Japan, A*STAR, Singapore; etc) as well as government agencies.. In addition, I have also experience of similar successful negotiations with universities in the US and South America.

Given the current state of public funding for research globally, it is also important for universities to establish collaborations with organisations in the private sector. While at the University of Liverpool as Head of Chemistry and later the Dean of Science and Engineering, I was the key account holder for the development and sustaining the relationship with a multinational commercial partner, Unilever Research and I discuss this elsewhere as a case study.