Strengthening Partnerships at the Sydney Summit
The University recently took part in a three-day partnership event held by the University of Sydney.
The inaugural Sydney Summit was attended by representatives from the 19 institutions the University of Sydney is partnered with, including Edinburgh.
The event focused on multidisciplinary initiatives, planetary health and the Anthropocene, and engaging with economy, industry, government and the community.
The trip allowed us to meet with around ten of our strongest current partners, as well as partners we are still strengthening links with, many of whom we haven’t had the opportunity to meet with in over a year.
It was a great opportunity as the model for partnership visits is often that one representative from Edinburgh will visit a partner institution, or a representative from the partner university visits us, which can take time to arrange and take part in - sometimes between three to six months for the meetings to be arranged and take place. The Sydney Summit reduced this time significantly.
The interesting thing is that you can still do the one to one meetings which we did do but in addition to that we were able to look across all the universities to see if there were any common themes that came out.
Early outcomes with other partners include a project to evaluate the impact of partnerships with Copenhagen, mapping of research collaborations and a review of our student mobility with Hong Kong University to see if there are opportunities to further increase this.
We also had the opportunity to connect with the senior team at the University of Toronto ahead of a University visit in March next year and engage in good discussions with a new senior contact at National University of Singapore regarding our recently launched Data Science in Health Initiative.
Creating Stronger Partnerships
The University currently has strong partnership links with the University of Sydney which it continues to develop.
The current partnership focuses on student mobility and research. Sydney is our largest student mobility destination with up to 50 students being exchanged each year, and we jointly fund collaborative research projects which have the potential to make a serious impact on the world.
First and foremost, on our mind was to further strengthen our Sydney partnership, which was achieved through committing to support our existing research project leads to access more funding opportunities by working collaboratively to develop a reference guide for funding sources to support UK-Australia collaboration.
Furthermore, we are now sharing extensive partnership data between our universities, which has highlighted the level of activity underway, we undertook discussions on the Planetary Health network that also involves UC Davis in the USA, and we connected with key contacts at Taronga Zoo, who might be able to welcome University of Edinburgh students on future mobility programmes.
The Sydney Summit helped to facilitate new connections with senior contacts in universities where partnership links are still being fully established, allowing us to explore new ways in which we can develop these partnerships.
Sharing best practices
The Summit allowed for the opportunity to explore what other universities are doing within partnerships.
It also enabled us to learn about the partnerships between other universities, with these conversations normally taking place behind closed doors, so for us to see what Copenhagen and Utrecht are doing together, it’s inspiring to see if it’s something that we could do as well.
We also visited multidisciplinary education and research centres at the University of Sydney, including the Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney Nano.
Insight into the development and management of these institutes will be incredibly useful to our colleagues working at the forefront of multidisciplinarity in Edinburgh, such as EFI and Bayes, and the directorates of these institutes have already been connected to counterparts in Sydney following our visit in order to share best practice.
It is hoped that through this knowledge sharing we will be able to understand some of the challenges that are faced when establishing a multidisciplinary centre and how best to overcome these.
With summit style partnership meetings allowing for an efficient way to engage in partnership activities, it is hoped the University will be able to host its own in the future to showcase some of the innovative work that goes on here at the University.