April News Headlines

12 April 2013
Welcome to the April e-bulletin with the latest news and items of interest to staff and students across the Universitas 21 network.


 U21 Rankings Project 2013

We are pleased to announce that this year’s U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems will be launching on 9 May 2013 during the U21 AGM  at the University of British Columbia.

The first U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems was published in May 2012. 48 countries were ranked separately in four areas (Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output) which led to an overall ranking.  The rankings met a long-standing need to shift discussion from the existing rankings of the world’s best universities to the standing of the whole higher education system in each country.  This year, the four areas of assessment remain the same, but the country coverage has been extended to include Serbia and Saudi Arabia, bringing the total number of countries included to 50.

An interactive webpage will also be launching on our website to enable data comparison between the results for 2012 and 2013. Details of the 2013 project will be available on our existing rankings page on the launch date:  www.universitas21.com/link/rankings.

We would like to thank all our members for their assistance throughout the process of compiling data for this project.

Deadline for Student Summit Registrations

The University of British Columbia is hosting the first Universitas 21Student Summit from 7-9 May 2013. Member universities are invited to send undergraduate and first year Masters students to this event, which will include networking opportunities with other student representatives of U21 member universities, and the chance to work collaboratively together to create a presentation to be made at the Presidential Symposium.

The registration deadline for this event is 15 April, so nominated students who have not yet registered are reminded to do so as soon as possible. To register, please visit the event page on the U21 website: 


Any queries should be directed to Jola Lekich (jlekich@mail.ubc.ca).

International Student Experience Open House at Glasgow

The University of Glasgow invites U21 colleagues to attend their second Open House event on 18 April 2013, to discuss and share experiences on international student integration.

The event will be of interest to staff leading and working within student services, international offices and student support. Event co-ordinators are keen to draw experience from across the U21 network and welcome further offers for workshop facilitation. The event will offer a series of workshops exploring the issues surrounding international students.

There will also be opportunity for networking with colleagues and sharing good practice informally, as well as an informal dinner on the night of 17 April.

Please visit the U21 event page to see the full programme of events:


Call for Proposals for Health Sciences Group Summer School

The U21 Health Sciences Group is developing a proposal for a U21 Summer School for Health Science students. They are looking for member institutions to host the Summer Schools in 2014 and 2015.

The central theme of the Summer School will be determined by the host institution applicant, but it is expected that the School should include some exposure to practice within the host country and be interdisciplinary in nature. Institutions may elect to work with faculty exclusively from their own institution, or seek expertise within other U21 members. Joint proposals are welcomed from institutions in the same region.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 7 June 2013*, and selected universities will be announced by 26 July 2013.

For more information please visit www.u21health.org/summer-school or contact Caroline Voisine (caroline.voisine@ubc.ca).

*Please note that this is an extension of previous deadline.

Health Sciences Group UNMDG Student Competition

We are pleased to announce the launch of the 2013 U21 United Nations Millenium Development Goals (UNMDG) Group student competition. Students are required to design a poster to promote the UNMDG among students and staff, along with a brief marketing plan.

Two prizes of US$750 will be awarded to the winning students towards travel expenses to attend the U21 UNMDG workshop in Dublin, Ireland on 3 September 2013. The winners will also be invited to present at the workshop.

The competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students in the U21 network. The deadline for submissions is 31 May 2013.

Please visit the U21 website to view the call for entries, www.universitas21.com/link/UNMDGcompetition or contact Caroline Voisine (caroline.voisine@ubc.ca) with any queries.

Graduate Research Conference Update

The fourth Graduate Research Conference will be hosted by University College Dublin from 19-22 June 2013.

Each member university is invited to nominate up to five graduate research students to participate. Eligible students include those studying for a PhD and also those on a relevant Masters course.  Of the five nominations made, three will be guaranteed a place at the Conference and two will be offered reserve placements, which will subsequently become guaranteed if spare places are available.

The deadline for nominations has now been extended to 12 April 2013, after which time successful delegates will be invited to register for the event by UCD and submit a short paper.

For more information, please visit the GRC event page www.universitas21.com/link/grc2013

or contact Dr Damian Flynn (damian.flynn@ucd.ie) with any queries.


President Toope announces departure from UBC

Professor Stephen Toope, President of the University of British Columbia, has announced that he will be stepping down from his position at the end of June 2014, after serving for eight years in the position.

Professor Toope said of his post, “I have been daily reaffirmed in my sense that UBC is a unique and remarkable place, filled with dedicated and talented students, professors and staff members who work tirelessly to further human knowledge and make the world better.”

We would like to thank Professor Toope for his dedication to U21 and wish him good luck for the future.

Installation of New Chancellor at Nottingham

Sir Andrew Witty was officially installed as the seventh Chancellor of The University of Nottingham at a ceremony on 12 March. Sir Andrew graduated from The University of Nottingham in 1985 with a BA in Economics. He became Chief Executive Officer of GSK in 2008 and was knighted for services to the economy and to the UK pharmaceutical industry in the 2012 New Year Honours.

As Chancellor, Sir Andrew will act as an ambassador and advocate of the university in the UK and around the world, he will also be a key adviser on matters of major strategic importance to the development of the university. On behalf of the network, we pass on our congratulations to Sir Andrew.

Birmingham Welcomes New Director of International Relations

Peter Clack joined the University of Birmingham as their new Director of International Relations on 18 March. Mr Clack will take responsibility for the development of current and future international partnerships for the university. Previous to this move, Mr Clack had been working for the British Council, most recently in leading the development and delivery of education programmes and activities across the Middle East and North Africa.

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome Mr Clack to the U21 network.


Staff Fellowship Programme at Birmingham

The University of Birmingham's U21 Staff Fellowship Programme provides an opportunity for both academic and non-academic staff at Birmingham to travel to another U21 member institution during 2013-2014.

The programme aims to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills within the network and encourage the sharing of best practice. It provides support to Birmingham staff who have demonstrated innovation and excellence in their field.

Applications are now open for Birmingham staff to apply for a fellowship of up to £5,000, with a deadline of 30 May 2013.

Please visit the U21 website to find the entry guidelines and application form, www.universitas21.com/link/uobfellowship and contact Matt Clulee with any queries (m.clulee@bham.ac.uk).

Awards for Fudan Research Achievements

Fudan University has been recognised in China’s 2012 National Awards for Science and Technology, winning second place in four categories.

A research collaboration between the department of Environmental Science and Technology, led by Professor Zhuang Guoshun, and the department of Physics, led by Professor Gong Xinga, won second prize in the awards for Natural Sciences. Research by the Shanghai Medical School, led by Professor Song Zhijian, won the second prize in the awards for Technological Innovation, and research led by Professor Fan Jia, of the Affiliated Zhongshan Hospital, won the second prize in the awards for Science and Technology Progress.

On behalf of the network, we would like to extend our congratulations to Fudan University on these achievements.

Victory for Korean Ice-Skater

Korea University alumna Yu-Na Kim, who studied Physical Education, has won the ladies’ title of the 2013 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, held in Ontario, Canada on 17 March.

After earning 69.97 points in the short programme, Ms Kim received 148.34 points in the free skate and jumped to first place with a grand total of 218.81. Ms Kim posted the highest score by a female skater this season, second only to the world record of 228.56, which was set by Ms Kim herself in the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

We would like congratulate Yu-Na Kim on her wonderful success.

E-bulletin Update

If you would like to see a news story about your institution featured in the e-bulletin, which you feel has a U21 angle, we’d like to hear from you.

Please send any comments or suggestions to Lucy Smith of the U21 Secretariat (l.smith.1@bham.ac.uk). The deadline for the next e-bulletin is 3 May 2013.