November news headlines

06 November 2012
Welcome to the November ebulletin with the latest news and items of interest to staff and students across the Universitas 21 network.

Evaluating Sustainability – U21 Sustainability Statement 3 years on


At the 2009 Annual Presidential Meeting, U21 members signed a Sustainability Statement, pledging to progress issues relating to sustainability and environmental awareness together.  Three years on, we are now starting to look back over what different members have achieved since signing the statement.  At U21 Managers’ Meetings, different universities will be showcasing their environmental and sustainability credentials and we will also be carrying reports in the forthcoming editions of the U21 newsletter.


The universities of Auckland and Melbourne were put under the spotlight at the recent U21 Managers’ Meeting and showed some innovative and far-reaching initiatives in this arena.  Look out for the first report in the series in the next newsletter, due out in the coming weeks!



U21 Joint PhDs – Melbourne & Birmingham offer fully-funded study


As part of the U21 Joint PhD programme, two member universities are offering a fully-funded U21 Joint PhD in Computer Science.  Applications are invited for a 3½ year PhD studentship, split between Birmingham and Melbourne, providing a unique opportunity for an outstanding computer science graduate to carry out highly innovative interdisciplinary PhD studies integrating biomedical and computer sciences at two U21 universities.  Details of the scholarship can be found at

This provides a new model for encouraging joint PhD study, which other universities signed up to the U21 Joint PhD programme may wish to take advantage of, giving students the chance to engage in high-level academic work across two member universities. 


Further details about the Joint PhD Programme can be found at 



Digital Humanities group calls for collaborators


In September, the U21 Digital Humanities Workshop took place at Lund University.  The meeting was very well received and highlighted that a number of U21 members are engaged in projects within Digital Humanities, where there is a lot of common interest around the network. It resulted, among other things, in two potential collaborations being formed between Lund and Auckland and Lund and Queensland, with the opportunity for multi-lateral projects to take place, too.


Colleagues who are not already involved in the U21 DH group but who would like to learn more or become a part of the group should contact Stefan Lindgren who would be pleased to welcome all new members!



U21 HR Group’s latest benchmarking study now online


In 2011, the U21 Human Resources group identified key topics in HR for benchmarking research in order to share best practice. The University of Glasgow offered to take a lead in chairing the group for the first year, and initiated the first project looking at Performance Management Systems across participating institutions of the U21 network. Eleven U21 universities participated in the benchmarking survey and shared HR policy documentation to illuminate good practice in performance management.


This report is now available for download on the U21 website at



Venues for 2014 flagship student events announced


At the U21 Managers’ Meeting in Connecticut last month, the hosts for the 2014 flagship student events – the Summer School and the Undergraduate Researcher Conference (URC) – were announced.  The 2014 Summer School will be hosted by the University of New South Wales, while the 2014 URC will be hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.


Meanwhile, registration for the 2013 events is due to open soon, with the University of Connecticut welcoming students to the Summer School from 7 to 19 July 2013 and the University of Amsterdam hosting the URC from 8 to 12 July 2013.  Contact your International Office for details on how to apply for either event and keep up-to-date with plans as they emerge on



U21 to be represented at 2013 AIEA Conference


A team from around the U21 network has been invited to present a session at the 2013 AIEA Conference.   EntitledStrong alone, stronger together: Globalised pathways to Researcher Development,the session will share how U21 universities collaborate in the realm of researcher development, working to create global impact and opportunities which benefit individuals and society within and beyond university systems. The process of developing and delivering programmes and activities for PhD candidates and other early career researchers will be discussed, along with moves to internationalise experiences and enhance networking.  Audience participation will be sought to expand international understanding of this important topic.  


The panel will comprise Dr Jon Turner (Director of the Institute for Academic Development, University of Edinburgh), Dr Anna Ciccarelli (Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (International), University of Queensland) and Dr Gemma Marakas (Researcher Development Manager, U21 Secretariat).



UConn and Glasgow present master’s programme for professionals in HE


Colleagues at the University of Connecticut’s Higher Education and Student Affairs master’s programme ( are collaborating with those at the University of Glasgow to create an international experience for future professionals in higher education.  The programme will provide second year master’s students with the opportunity to spend three weeks immersed in life at a fellowUniversitas 21 institution where students will address a problem of practice posed by the partner institution.  The partnership is mutually beneficial, providing master’s students with the opportunity to understand the growing internationalisation of higher education better, while also assisting University of Glasgow professionals in addressing areas of concern on their own campus.


This partnership is unique among student affairs graduate programmes in the United States, providing students with an opportunity to apply knowledge to a real challenge experienced by the partner institution to the benefit of both parties.  The first group of students will travel to Glasgow in May 2013 and report back on their experiences via aUniversitas 21newsletter.


For more information about this programme, please contact



Business Schools across the network lauded in rankings


A recent ranking of Business Schools inThe Economistplaced a number of U21 universities among the top 100 places in the world to study for an MBA. Leading the report from U21 was the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business, which was placed 3rd, followed by Queensland (27th), Melbourne (38th), Hong Kong (41st), UCD (63rd), McGill (75th), Birmingham (84th), Nottingham (86th and UBC (91st). 


Universitas 21prides itself on consistently high placings of many of its members in a diverse range of rankings, repeatedly proving the calibre and strength of the network and its universities.



Research Leaders continue to develop ideas


On 1 November the U21 Research Leaders met by teleconference to help advance initiatives and plan for upcoming activities. The group discussed the new Researcher Collaboration Group’s progress, plans to benchmark on research impact, and consulted on the programme for their upcoming inaugural eventDealing with Research Misconductto be hosted by the University of Hong Kong in December 2012.


The group will next meet face-to-face at the University of British Columbia from 6 to 7 May 2013.  In the meantime, Dr Gemma Marakas ( in the U21 Secretariat can be contacted concerning any of their activities, or log on to or