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The global research agenda comes under the spotlight in Bristol

Press release issued: 30 January 2012

Leaders from across the spectrum of higher education, from as far afield as Australia and Brazil, will be meeting at the University of Bristol this week to discuss how academics can work with colleagues around the world to strengthen global research networks.

The University will be hosting 85 delegates for the first conference of its kind, covering issues which will shape how international research is carried out in the future.

The Worldwide Universities Network [WUN] event, entitled Globalising Geographies of Higher Education and Research, will welcome representatives from leading universities in the UK, America, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, Hong Kong and Norway.

Funding bodies and higher education associations will also contribute to the discussions, which take place between Wednesday and Friday [1 to 3 February].

The agenda is split into four themes: Globalising Academics, Globalising Infrastructure, Globalising Learning and Globalising Institutions.

Discussions will help to identify the challenges of globalising research and how new academic activities could be better supported. Questions about meeting the cost of more complex research structures, which will span multiple institutions and countries, will also be addressed.

The role universities play in the future of research will also be examined, with one workshop focussing on the competition provided by multinational corporations, think tanks and consultants.

Professor Eric Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: "I am pleased to welcome this conference to Bristol at what is one of the most important times for the Higher Education sector globally.  The conference will provide an excellent opportunity to explore with fellow institutions how world-leading universities can further increase the impact of their research through international collaboration."

Professor Wendy Larner, Research Director for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, who is overseeing the project said: “We are delighted such a strong array of international colleagues will join us for this event.  We look forward to full and frank conversations between academics, research professionals, policymakers and funders, and hope for practical recommendations that will make a real difference to future research efforts.”

The Worldwide Universities Network comprises 18 research-intensive institutions spanning five continents.

  • On Wednesday, 1 February, there a WUN Showcase at 6pm in The Hawthorns, which is an opportunity for academic staff to learn more about Bristol's WUN research projects and to meet the WUN Chief Executive and General Manager. The showcase will kick off the conference. For more information visit the University of Bristol's WUN website or email if you are interested in attending the showcase.


Further information

About the World Universities Network [WUN]

The WUN’s mission is to be one of the leading international Higher Education networks, collaborating to accelerate the creation of knowledge and to develop leaders who will be prepared to address the significant challenges, and opportunities, of our rapidly changing world.

It creates new, multilateral opportunities for international collaboration in research and graduate education. It is a flexible, dynamic organisation that uses the combined resources and intellectual power of its members to achieve collective international objectives and to stretch international ambitions.

The University of Bristol’s involvement with WUN is overseen by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eric Thomas, the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Guy Orpen and the IAS/WUN Development Manager, Dr Susan Jim. Please contact or visit for more information.

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