Top universities unite for success

Profs David Eastwood and David Greenaway
03 Feb 2011 07:00:00.000


The University of Birmingham and The University of Nottingham have today [February 3rd 2011] announced a new framework for collaboration.

The partnership will see the comprehensive large research-led universities working together for mutual success in a range of different areas, including research initiatives, student experience, business engagement and internationalisation.

The Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham have many complementary strengths and an established and successful record of joint collaboration across a range of research areas. Both share characteristics of scale, history, outstanding research, high quality student experience and international engagement.

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As UK higher education faces its most challenging time for a generation, this signature partnership will offer a distinctive approach to working together – where it is in both universities’ mutual interest to do so. Creative approaches to developing intellectual capital are at the heart of the partnership.

Distinctive features of the partnership include the potential breadth of collaborative areas, the depth of commitment and wide scope it allows staff to work together.

The framework for collaboration will see the Universities working together in six areas:
• joint academic appointments
• teaching, learning and student experience
• research initiatives
• international opportunities, including emerging markets and student mobility
• business engagement and knowledge transfer
• management and administration. 

Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “Academics instinctively collaborate, and this is an opportunity for us to send a much stronger signal about collaboration within our institutions – to build on existing links and develop new ones. There are significant opportunities to leverage each other’s strengths.

“The international domain is a very good example because both institutions do things slightly differently and have activities that don’t overlap in a global context. While we have overseas campuses in China and Malaysia, Birmingham has a bigger footprint in North America, so the new framework for collaboration opens up new opportunities for both institutions.”

Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: “The partnership is aimed at promoting and facilitating collaboration.

“UK higher education faces increasing challenges in the coming years to enhance the provision of services and facilities to students and staff in a more constrained funding environment. This collaboration will enable both universities to explore opportunities to share best practice and to diversify income streams. It is about strengthening both Universities’ research and teaching offer and improving management and administration by working together.”

Both Vice-Chancellors stressed that the Universities were not merging. They will collaborate in areas where it is mutually beneficial to do so but will maintain their distinct identities and strengths as large, comprehensive, research-intensive institutions.

This partnership matters strategically but does not prevent either university from working with other leading institutions. The University of Birmingham continues to collaborate closely with the University of Warwick and overseas with the likes of the University of Chicago and NorthWestern University; Nottingham also works with Loughborough, Warwick and a number of China’s leading Universities including Tsinghua.

The two institutions have already established a successful record of joint collaboration, including involvement in the Midlands Physics Alliance, the Manufacturing Technology Centre, and the Midlands Energy Consortium. Nottingham and Birmingham are also formal partners in two large Research Council-supported Doctoral Training Centres, one in the area of Efficient Fossil Energy Technology, the other in the applications of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells.

— Ends —

Notes to editors: PICTURED ABOVE (l-r) are Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, and Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham.

The University of Nottingham, described by The Times as “the nearest Britain has to a truly global university”, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 39,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. More news from the University at:

The University of Birmingham is a truly vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than four thousand international students from nearly 150 different countries.

The University is home to approximately 28,000 students. With more than 7,500 postgraduate students from across the world, Birmingham is one of the most popular universities for postgraduate study in the UK.

The University is the eighth largest employer in the Birmingham/Solihull sub-region and plays an integral role in the economic, social and cultural growth of local and regional communities; working closely with businesses and organisations, employing approximately 6,000 staff and providing 10,000 graduates annually.

The University contributes £662 million to the City of Birmingham and £779 million to the West Midlands region, with an annual income of more than £462 million.

Story credits

More information is available from Tim Utton, Deputy Director, Communications, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 846 8092, mob +44 (0)7825 753953,; or Rachel Burrows, Head of Communications, University of Birmingham, on +44 (0)121 414 6681, mob: +44 (0)7789 921165,
Tim Utton

Tim Utton - Deputy Director of Communications

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8092 Location: University Park

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