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Birmingham-Illinois invest in new joint research

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Birmingham in the UK have announced tripled their investment in new joint research collaborations.
April 22 2024
2 Min Read

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Birmingham in the UK have announced a tripling of their investment in their partnership to develop new signature research collaborations.

The investment increase includes US$400,000 to establish strategic research partnerships with the global South, focusing on global health, sustainability and education access and equity.

The BRIDGE Alliance – which stands for the Birmingham-Illinois partnership for discovery, engagement and education – already boasts some 115 collaborative projects tackling major global challenges and is celebrating 10 years of transnational partnership.

The alliance also provides some US$200,000 of annual seed funding to kick-start research projects between the two universities. This year, a further 12 projects are being supported, with half of them focused on the global South.

The two universities solidified their plans during a visit by senior leaders from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to the University of Birmingham.

The universities have already committed to continuing the partnership for another five years, with an aim to strengthen strategic collaboration, not just with each other, but with other partners around the world.

University of Birmingham vice-chancellor Adam Tickell said the partnership “represents all that is best in two great universities working together”.

“Building on such strong foundations, we look forward to developing close working partnerships with research institutions across the global South that will enhance people’s lives by delivering innovative research in sustainability, education equity and global health,” he said.

The US delegation met Birmingham experts to discuss how the partnership might grow in the future.

Chancellor Robert Jones and Tickell both emphasised the critical importance of addressing shared global challenges, such as healthcare disparities, climate change and the right to access education, in true partnership with institutions in developing countries.

“We have a responsibility to seek new discoveries will have a direct and measurable impact “

“As institutions of higher education that serve local and global communities, we have a responsibility to seek out new discoveries that will have a direct and measurable impact on the way people live, work and thrive,” explained Jones.

Over the past decade the program has already brought together international research teams in the UK and USA to recruit high-potential, early-career researchers.

These efforts have contributed to the research and academic excellence of both institutions in six key areas including: aging and cognition; brain trauma; cultural heritage, tourism and economic development; diversity, race and education; and population dynamics.

The partnership renewal includes a five-year fellowship in water sciences.

Reitumetse Obakeng Mabokela, Illinois’ associate chancellor and vice provost for Global Affair and Strategies said, “For the last decade, our universities have truly nurtured this partnership and worked together to foster collaborative research that expands the human experience.

“With a new focus on developing trilateral and collaborative relationships with partners in the Global South, I have no doubt that we will be even more successful.”

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