Against a backdrop of the most challenging time in UK higher education for a generation, a landmark collaboration agreement between the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham is celebrating a successful first year.
This innovative partnership builds on the complementary strengths of the two universities and has already enabled the institutions to secure multi-million pound research income, explore new international markets, and develop new research collaborations.
The two universities were recently awarded several million pounds in research funding by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Arthritis Research UK to jointly explore ways to reduce the pain and disability caused by ageing. They are also working on a number of high-profile collaborations in areas such as liver and gastro-intestinal research.
Inroads into Brazil
From the outset, a key focus for the two universities was exploring emerging markets and they have made significant inroads into Brazil over the last 12 months.
This includes a £480,000 fund for research projects between the Universities of Birmingham and/or Nottingham and Brazilian institutions in São Paulo State, and a scheme with the Brazilian funding council which will see 20 PhD scholarships for Brazilian students across the two universities. Brazil has also seen the first joint appointment of a new in-country officer.
Both universities are also looking at offering greater opportunities for students to spend time between their UK campuses and Nottingham’s overseas campuses. In addition a number of other joint projects, which aim to enhance collaborative working and share best practice amongst the professional and administrative teams at the two universities, are also being developed.
Benefits of collaboration
Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham, said: “The framework for collaboration between our two Universities has focused and expanded some pre-existing links and provided a foundation for new ones. Our partnership has recognised each other’s strengths and used them to leverage and exploit new opportunities, whilst maintaining our distinct identities.
“We are demonstrating the benefit of collaboration in these challenging times for UK higher education, whether this is with each other or with other institutions and partners, both nationally and internationally.”
Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: “A key challenge facing all UK universities is to enhance services and facilities to students and staff in a more constrained funding environment. Our landmark collaboration has already enabled us to strengthen our research and teaching, share and develop innovations, and diversify income streams.
“Our strong partnership is delivering strategic advantages and enables us to collaborate in areas where it is mutually beneficial, while we continue to work closely with other leading institutions.”
The universities of Nottingham and Birmingham share characteristics of scale, history, outstanding research, high quality student experience and international engagement. These latest activities have built on existing collaborations, 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.
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PICTURED above are (l-r) Professor David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, and Professor David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of The University of Nottingham.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at 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 ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.
Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news