U21:Connect - March 2016

15 March 2016
The latest news and items of interest to staff and students across the Universitas 21 network.

Welcome to the February edition of U21 Connect, featuring all the latest news and items of interest from the Universitas 21 network.


AGM Registration - Deadline fast approaching!

If you have yet to register, but wish to attend the U21 AGM at the National University of Singapore, please be aware the deadline for registrations is fast approaching. The U21 AGM and Presidential Symposium takes place from the National University of Singapore between Wednesday 11 and Friday 13 May. If you have already registered, but have yet to secure a hotel reservation, a corporate rate is available via the link below. Please follow the link below and submit your registration via the 'Register Here' icon at the bottom of the page or visit www.universitas21.com/link/agm16

AGM Event Information and Registration


U21 Librarian Group to host inaugural Summit and University Library Pioneer Conference

The event takes place on July 3-5 2016 in co-operation with Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The group summit, the first of its kind, has been designed to examine the developing trends of university libraries and foster mutual communication among librarians all over the world. The theme of the Conference is “Academic Libraries: Going Global, Going Open”. Domestic and overseas directors and research librarians from academic libraries are welcome to the conference. Registration is now open, please see the event page for further details:

U21 Librarian Group Summit


Gravitational waves ripple through U21

News broke on the 11 February 2016 that, for the first time, scientists have observed ripples in the fabric of space-time called gravitational waves, arriving at the earth from a cataclysmic event in the distant universe. This finding confirms a major prediction of Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity and opens up an unprecedented new window into the cosmos. The discovery was made by the LIGO Scientific Collaboration which includes four members of the U21 network - the Universities of Birmingham, Glasgow, Maryland and Melbourne. Huge congratulations to all involved in this ground-breaking discovery!

University of Maryland
University of Melbourne
University of Birmingham
University of Glasgow


The next edition of U21:Discover will be online in March!

The next edition of U21:Discover, U21’s online newsletter, will be available at the end of March.  It will feature the usual summary of events and activities from around the network, including participant reports from the U21 Managers’ Meeting.

We’re always looking for news from the network, so if you would like to contribute to this publication please contact Ben Griffiths in the U21 Secretariat (ben.griffiths@universitas21.com).

To access previous editions of U21:Discover as well as other U21 publications, please follow the link below:

U21 Newsletters

Educational Innovation

Annual U21 Educational Innovation Conference

The U21 Educational Innovation Conference is being hosted this year by the University of Birmingham October 26-28th.  This year's theme is "Teaching Excellence in a Research-intensive University Context".  It is a relevant and exciting topic and we look forward to an energetic, interactive few days with colleagues.  Detailed information, including registration information, will be available soon so hold that date in your diaries and plan to join us in October!

EI Conference


Universitas 21 Shared Online Course (U21 SOC), "Future Societies"

A new U21 Shared Online Course [SOC] is being developed with its first iteration in November 2016 and two other U21 iterations scheduled for 2017. The course will run over 5 weeks and will be pitched at a first year undergraduate level, but it will also have the capability of being embedded in larger modules by U21 partners.

The course is being developed by a team UCD’s College of Social Science and Law. Using a working title of 'Future Societies', the course will help students understand that where individuals make their home has a powerful and significant impact on their health, education, occupation and overall quality of life. At present 54% of the world’s population live in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 66% by 2050 (World Health Organization). This global change is termed ‘planetary urbanization’ and it will increasingly influence the work of many professionals in the areas of health, science, law, education, business and the liberal arts. Therefore, understanding the impact of planetary urbanism is of growing importance to many university students.

The core question addressed during the U21 course will be:  what challenges does planetary urbanization present to the lives of those in different geographical settings and how can cities be made more liveable for future generations? Through stimulating taught materials and innovative assessment this course will encourage students to appreciate the impact of planetary urbanisation on different social, physical and economic aspects of the city in which they live and/or study and at a broader international level. U21 students will be encouraged to actively share their learning experiences online with other students across the world, and to appreciate how planetary urbanization influences their own area of study and the shape of their future careers.

More details will be forthcoming over the next month so keep your eyes on this space!



Researcher Engagement

McGill’s 3MT being streamed live on 16 March

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of McGill are hosting their annual 3MT event on 16 March 2016 from 1 p.m. to 3:00 p.m (local time) to showcase the contributions and diversity of McGill graduate research. The 3MT competition features McGill graduate students giving three-minute presentations about their research and their impact on the community to a diverse non-specialist audience. The winning doctoral candidate will be entered into the U21 3MT later this year.

The event is being streamed live with viewers able to vote for the People’s Choice Award. Viewing details can be found at: https://www.mcgill.ca/gps/events-0/3mt



The new ABCs of Research

Distinguished University Professor Ben Shneiderman of the University of Maryland has published a new book which re-writes the research collaboration framework by using innovative ideas and the power of 21st century digital technologies. ‘The new ABCs of research: Achieving Breakthrough Collaborations’ was published in February 2016 and reports on the growing number of initiatives to promote more integrated approaches to research. It is meant as a guide to students and a manifesto for senior researchers and policy makers, challenging widely-held beliefs about how applied innovations evolve and how basic breakthroughs are made. Professor Shneiderman will present the new ABCs of Research to the U21 Research Leaders during the Researcher Engagement Cluster meeting being held at the University of Maryland in May. Further information about the book, including reviews and endorsements, can be found at: http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/newabcs/

Reminder: All Research Leaders and DDoGS please remember to register for the RE Cluster Meetings via the link: RE Cluster Meetings



Dates set for Researcher Collaboration Group meeting

The 2016 meeting of the U21 Researcher Collaboration Group (RCG) will take place at UNSW Australia in Sydney from 8-9 September. The meeting dates have been aligned with the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS) congress taking place in Melbourne on 11-15 September, to ensure maximum value for participants. The programme for the RCG meeting in currently being developed and will include sessions on research match-making, collaboration metrics and a visit to the Sydney Institute of Marine Science whereby UNSW researchers will showcase their research and discuss areas for collaboration.

Researcher Collaboration Group



Student Experience

Online course on Traditional Chinese Medicine and its Culture - registration open

The 13th U21 Summer School will place at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University with the theme "Traditional Chinese Medicine and Its Culture." It will be preceded by an online course open to all U21 students and staff. The online course is now open and can be accessed at:


For more information on the U21 Summer School, please visit:



Registration opens for May mobility meeting in Denver

Registration to this one-day meeting on 27 May 2016 is now open. 

The 2016 U21 Student Mobility Meetings will provide an opportunity to network with peers, share members' updates, get information on the work conducted by U21 in areas related to student mobility, and feedback on current SE projects relevant to student mobility

The meeting will be organised around central presentations and break-out group work. A draft schedule for the meeting and the registration form are available at:



People and places

Professor Les Field promoted to a newly created position of Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UNSW Australia.

Previously Les was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and has served as the U21 Research Leader for UNSW, since the Researcher Engagement cluster was formed. He is also a member of the Researcher Engagement (RE) Steering Group, taking on the Chair’s role in 2014. Due to this promotion he will be standing down from the RE Steering Group following the RE Cluster’s annual meeting, in May.

We wish Les well in his new post and start the process of electing a new Chair for the RE Steering Group.

Professor Les Field