U21:Connect - April 2016

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

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



U21:Review now available online!

The Annual Universitas 21 newsletter U21:Review is now available to view and download from our website.

The review, covering the period of November 2014 to October 2015 includes a recap of all events across all clusters and areas of collaboration.

Hard copies of the 2014/2015 review will be made available at the forthcoming Annual Network Meetings at the National University of Singapore as well as at selected Educational Innovation, Researcher Engagement and Student Experience events.

Please feel free to share this document within your universities and your wider network.

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

U21 Newsletters


UBC and McGill ranked in top ten Canadian Universities for social media presence

The rankings, created by Technology and data company Engagement Labs, measured each universities social media performance, using the data as benchmarking tool for social media scoring to measure and analyse social media output.

The University of British Columbia ranked first on Facebook presence whilst also coming in fourth on Instagram. UBC also had the largest follower growth of all Canadian Universities during the period of analysis, with 37,993 new followers. Meanwhile McGill University also placed in the top ten for Facebook output, being ranked in sixth out of 30 Universities being analysed on their social media engagement.

To read more, follow the link below:

Social Media Rankings


PUC and Glasgow winners in Wellcome Image Awards 2016

The Wellcome Image Awards showcase the best in science image making and recognise the creators of the most informative, striking and technically excellent images that communicate significant aspects of biomedical science. Of all the images submitted, 20 were chosen as the winners for 2016, which included Leandro Lemgruber of the University of Glasgow and Fernan Federici of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Leandro Lemgruber submitted his image; a super-resolution micrograph revealing three parasites which cause the disease Toxoplasmosis, using light microscopy at a level which was thought impossible for many years.

Fernan Federici won for his image looking inside a cluster of plant leaves to uncover its complex and intricate structure. Many congratulations to both winners!

University of Glasgow

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile


Glasgow reveals plans to install helter-skelter slide in iconic campus tower… Or do they?

Those on campus at the University of Glasgow in recent months will have noticed the main building’s iconic 19thCentury tower cloaked in scaffolding. But none would have guessed the true purpose of the construction work taking place – to create the world’s first helter-skelter inside a listed building.

In classic April Fools style, the University of Glasgow shocked and surprised many and amused those who had checked their calendar that morning, with the news that the helter-skelter slide would be open to the public at the end of the month.

Speaking from the shadow of the tower, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, Professor Frank Coton, Vice Principal (Academic and Innovation) at the University of Glasgow, said: “They said it couldn’t be done. Then they said it shouldn’t be done. But we did it anyway, and we’re thrilled to be the first university in the world to fuse education and entertainment in such an exciting way.”

To read more on Glasgow’s April Fool as well as watch the video (including an award winning performance from Professor Frank Cotton!), please follow the link below:

University of Glasgow Unveils Tower Helter-Skelter



Educational Innovation

Registration now open for 2016 EI Conference in Birmingham

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.

A breakdown of the event, along with venue and accommodation information is available at www.universitas21.com/link/eiconf2016

For more information and to register your attendance for the EI conference, please follow the page below and complete the questions via the ‘Register Here’ link:

EI Conference 2016


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

CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars Program - a new opportunity for early career researchers

CIFAR invites outstanding early-career researchers to join one of nine research programs which address some of the most complex challenges facing the world today. The CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars program provides funding and support to help researchers build their research network and develop essential skills. As a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar, researchers receive:

  • A two-year appointment to a CIFAR research program
  • $100,000 CDN in undesignated research support
  • Specialised leadership and communications training

The application deadline is 2 May 2016, details of the nine research programs can be found at:



Plans finalised for the RE Cluster meeting in Maryland

The annual Researcher Engagement Cluster meetings are taking place at the University of Maryland from 2-4 May. Registrations have been concluded with 33 participants from 19 members expected to attend, plus a number of invited guests from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Council of Graduate Schools. The itinerary has now been finalised and is available on the U21 website, final agendas and meeting papers will be sent out to those attending the meetings during the week commencing 18th April.

For more information, please see the event page via the link below:

RE Cluster Meeting


Proposed dates for 2016 U21 3MT competition

Many of our members are in the process of planning their internal Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competitions, with some having already taken place. Provisional dates for the 2016 U21 3MT Competition have recently been disseminated to help those members still planning their internal events. The provisional dates are as follows:

  • 7 October 2016 – video submission deadline
  • 10 October 2016 – video’s online and People’s Choice voting opens
  • 24 October 2016 – People’s Choice voting closes
  • 1 November 2016 – Winners announced

The U21 3MT has been running since 2013 and has grown each year with 20 members taking part last year. The event pits the winners of our member’s internal events against each other and is judged by an international panel of industry and academic professionals.

For more information on the U21 3MT, please follow the link below:

U21 3MT



Student Experience

Undergraduate Research Conference – registration closing on 15 May

The 2016 URC will be hosted between 11 and 16 July by Tecnológico de Monterrey, with the theme “A global perspective on ageing societies”. Tecnológico de Monterrey are pleased to invite all U21 partners to nominate up to three undergraduate students to participate, giving either an oral or a poster presentation on the chosen theme. In addition, all U21 partners are invited to send a member of their faculty or teaching staff to accompany the students and take part in the conference.

Attending students will need to register by 15 May 2016.

For more information, visit our 2016 Undergraduate Research Conference webpage via the link below:

URC 16


Over 60 students from 15 members to participate in the U21 Summer School

Nominations for the U21 Summer School on ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine and its Culture’ have now closed. The event will be held between 4 and 18 July at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and we are pleased to announce that over 60 students from 15 members will participate.

The online course is still open to all U21 students and staff and can be accessed at: http://www.cnmooc.org/portal/course/1389/2407.mooc

For more information, visit our 2016 U21 Summer School event page via the link below:

U21 Summer School


Registration still open for May mobility meeting in Denver

We are pleased that so far 31 staff from 17 member universities have registered for the U21 Student Mobility Meeting to be held in Denver on 27 May 2016. 

The Meeting will provide opportunities to network with peers, share members' updates, get information on the work conducted by U21 in areas related to student mobility, as well as feedback on current SE projects relevant to student mobility.

If you would like to take part or simply would like to know more, a draft schedule for the meeting and the registration form are available via the link below:

Student Mobility Meeting


Global Ingenuity Challenge completed

The 2016 Global Ingenuity Challenge closed on Friday 8 April. Sixteen teams from twelve institutions submitted their videos exploring innovative solutions to the Challenge of Sustainable Housing.

Over the next two weeks the videos will be rated by a judging panel and peers. Keep an eye on the U21 website for news on the winning teams.

For more information on the Global Ingenuity Challenge, please follow the link below:



People and places

Professor Yogesh Kumar Tyagi appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi

Professor Tyagi becomes the 22ndVice Chancellor appointed to the post at the University of Delhi. The news comes after he was selected by President Pranab Mukherjee from an initial panel of four. Professor Tyagi, formerly Dean of the Faculty of Legal Studies at South Asian University, took control of the post last month begging his five-year appointment at the University.

University of Delhi


University of Amsterdam announce new Chair of the Executive Board and Rector Magnificus

Geert Ten Dam, Professor of Education at the UvA, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Executive Board. Karen Maex, currently Dean of the Science Faculties at UvA, has been appointed as Rector Magnificus of the University of Amsterdam. The new Board members will take office on 1 June.

University of Amsterdam