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University network in growth spurt

Press release issued: 24 February 2004

An international partnership of top universities has gained extra muscle with the addition of three new members.

An international partnership of top universities has gained extra muscle with the addition of three new members.

The universities of Bergen, Oslo and Utrecht have joined the 13 other members of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) - a collaboration of some of the foremost research-led universities in Europe, the USA and China.

In three years, WUN has grown from an alliance of eight universities working together in four research areas to a global partnership focusing on 14 themes.  It has also co-ordinated 200 exchanges of graduate students and academics and won £7.5 million for e-learning initiatives.

The new European members will join forces with the other universities in addressing a series of research 'grand challenges'.  Informatics and grid computing, earth systems science, wireless communications and sustainable development are all on WUN's agenda.

Professor Eric Thomas, Chair of WUN and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: "Our network is committed to tackling some of the big challenges that will only be addressed through close collaboration between leading institutions.

"The addition of these three distinguished universities represents a major boost for WUN's collective intellectual capacity.  We will be able to push forward all the faster."

Hans van Himbergen from the Utrecht University said: "We at Utrecht highly value WUN as an excellent platform for leading universities in the world aiming to promote research and education at a global level. It is an honour to have been invited by the consortium to become a member."

Dr Kare Rommetveit, Director of the University of Bergen, said: "The University of Bergen is proud of becoming a member of WUN together with the University of Oslo. The Worldwide Universities Network is truly a pioneering effort in the area of international research co-operation, making effective use of the comparative strengths of the individual member institutions."

The members of WUN are: The Pennsylvania State University; University of Bergen; University of Bristol; University of California, San Diego; University of Illinois; University of Leeds; University of Manchester; University of Nanjing; University of Oslo; University of Sheffield; University of Southampton; Utrecht University; University of Washington, Seattle; University of Wisconsin - Madison; University of York; University of Zhejiang

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