U21:Connect - September 2016

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


Welcome to this month's news from the Universitas 21 network.

U21:Connect contains the latest news and items of interest to staff and students across the Universitas 21 network.


U21 News

U21 members feature heavily in 2016 QS Rankings

18 member universities ranked in the top 100 as part of the latest QS Rankings, 8 in the top 50 universities.  This ranking is based on performance across areas of research, teaching, employability and internationalisation.

National University of Singapore ranked highest of all U21 member institutions in 12th position, ranking as the premier university in Asia.

Tecnológico de Monterrey advanced 32 positions to 206 in the world, a rise of 181 positions since 2010.

Fudan University broke into the top 50 ranked universities for the first time, at 43rd position.

For a full breakdown of the 2016 QS rankings, please follow the link below:

QS Rankings


Edinburgh and Glasgow researchers granted share of £2.8M support in RSE Awards

Over one third of the researchers receiving funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh are at U21 member universities, Edinburgh and Glasgow

The awards enable them either to further their research or to investigate the commercial potential of their research. The awards range from enterprise awards to personal research fellowships, workshop grants to travel bursaries allowing for collaboration with colleagues overseas.

For more on the awards, as well as a full list of recipients, please follow the link below:

RSE Research Grants


Five U21 Members feature in top 50 millionaire-producing universities

UNSW Australia, Tecnológico de Monterrey, McGill, the National University of Singapore, and the University of Melbourne have been recognised as among the world’s best academic institutions with the most number of millionaire alumni.

UNSW was the highest ranked U21 member at 24th in the Top 50 ranking as part of research conducted by intelligence firm WealthInsight. Meanwhile, Tecnológico de Monterrey ranked as the 36th millionaire-producing university.

McGill also featured in the top 50 in 41st spot, with NUS in 46th and Melbourne in 49th place.

U21 Millionaires



Educational Innovation

U21 Educational Innovation Conference Update

The 9th annual EI conference will take place on 26 – 28 October at the University of Birmingham.

Registration is now open for up to three leaders with university-wide responsibilities relating to teaching and learning, with a deadline set for 26 September.

This year’s conference will examine ‘What is Teaching Excellence in a Contemporary Research-Intensive University?’

To register please follow the 'Register here' link below and for more information including a revised programme, please follow the EI Conference link:

Register here
EI Conference


U21 Shared Online Course (U21 SOC) – “Planetary Urbanisation – Global Challenges in a Changing World”

The newly developed course will run its first iteration beginning 24 October.

As part of the 5-week course participants will be introduced to the challenges of planetary urbanisation to understand better how humans are responding to the global challenges of urbanisation.  

The U21 SOC will allow participants to engage in ongoing discussion with fellow students from across the U21 network, to exchange ideas, opinions and experiences.

For additional details, including an Expression of Interest form required to participate as well as suggested promotional material for use at your university, please contact Lavinia Winegar-Gott at Lavinia.winegar-gott@universitas21.com.

For a complete syllabus, please follow the link below:

U21 SOC Course Page



Researcher Engagement

Research Collaboration Group (RCG) meeting

This group met at UNSW on 8-9 September, with 24 representatives from 15 U21 members present.

Sessions covered research administration knowledge exchange, seed funding opportunities and U21 collaboration metrics analysis.  The group also heard from Professor John Whitelock from UNSW on the researcher’s perspective of international collaboration.

There were also presentations regarding two Australian government initiatives - the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy and AusIndustry.


Graduate Research Project grants

The Graduate Research Project grants pilot has received over 30 applications for funding in its first round.

These projects are aimed at giving doctoral candidates the opportunity to work collaboratively with their peers at other U21 member institutions.

The reviewing process is now underway with final decisions expected at the end of September.



U21 Australian members lead on ARC funded Centres of Excellence

The Australian Research Council announced AUS$283.5 million in funding for nine Centres of Excellence on 8 September 2016 with U21 members leading on five of the nine Centres.

UNSW will lead on three Centres of Excellence: for Climate Extremes; for Population Ageing Research and for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology

The University of Melbourne are the lead on a new Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science.

The University of Queensland lead on the Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems



Student Experience

European members meet to discuss student mobility in their region

Thirteen participants from the U21 Student Mobility Group (SMG) based in Europe attended a meeting at Lund University in August.

The meeting focussed on the Erasmus + programme and the invited speaker Dr Graham Wilkie (European Commission Directorate-General for Education & Culture) shared the Commission’s experiences of and perspectives on the Erasmus+ programme to date.

Josias Planta from the University of Zurich presented the Swiss interim solution for Erasmus, SEMP (Swiss European Mobility Programme), established after Switzerland was no longer able to participate in Erasmus.


Workshop in Nottingham to progress quality standards project

Sixteen members from the U21 Student Mobility Group (SMG) met at a workshop at the University of Nottingham on 12 September, prior to the EAIE conference.

The workshop had a particular focus on pre-departure support, orientation and reintegration, academic integration, and credit transfer. This series of quality standards will ultimately be present to the Presidents for endorsement at their in May 2017.

Anyone interested in further information on this project should contact Bernice Molloy (bernice.molloy@universitas21.com).



People & Places

Nottingham VC announces his decision to retire in 2017

Professor Sir David Greenaway will step down from his post as Nottingham’s Vice-Chancellor on 30 September 2017.

When he leaves,  Sir David will have served the University of Nottingham for 30 years, with 20 of those as a member of its Executive Board: as Vice-Chancellor, Acting Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

Sir David will continue as a member of U21’s Executive Board and will be host at AGM 2017, to be held in Nottingham in May 2017.

We wish Sir David a long and happy retirement and thank him for his many contributions to U21 and to internationalisation over many years.

Sir David Greenaway


UNSW Graduate appointed first female Surveyor General in Australia

Narelle Underwood has been appointed New South Wales’ Surveyor General, becoming the first female Surveyor General in Australia.

While at UNSW, Narelle won the Dean’s Award twice and the University Medal on graduation and now becomes New South Wales' 25th Surveyor General since Augusts Alt was appointed to the position in 1787.

She will take up the role on 4 October 2016

UNSW Surveyor General


UQ researchers make strides in understanding Parkinson’s disease

Research from the University of Queensland could lead to a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease, which affects about eight million people worldwide.

Researchers from UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience examined a genetic mutation that interrupts the traffic of materials within neurons and allows waste products to accumulate, causing Parkinson’s disease.

The research breakthrough could lead to new treatment for Parkinson’s disease with future potential applications to nearly 50 other disorders.

To read more on the story as well as the research, follow the link below:

UQ Research
Journal of Biological Chemistry


UCD Plan €300M student accommodation expansion

The on-campus accommodation will provide space for 3,000 more students, doubling the student population living on site.

The announcement comes after the Higher education Authority estimated the need for about 25,000 more beds for students in Ireland.

Almost one quarter of students attending UCD will have access to on-campus housing once the new apartments have been built.

For more on the announcement, please follow the link below:

UCD Student Accommodation





Connect with U21 on LinkedIn

As part of continued efforts to build on our professional profile, we invite all subscribers to follow our LinkedIn page.

As part of the forthcoming Researcher Engagement Cluster Meetings we will be trialling the use of LinkedIn groups to facilitate increased communication and collaboration both before and after meetings and engagements.

To follow U21 on LinkedIn, please follow the link below or search for Universitas 21 on LinkedIn:

Universitas 21 - LinkedIn 




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