Professors Sir Steve Smith and Janice Kay from the University of Exeter joined their counterparts from The University of Queensland to formally sign the MOA.

Universities of Exeter and Queensland cement new global impact partnership

The University of Exeter and The University of Queensland (UQ) have reinforced their strong relationship by cementing a new multi-million pound partnership designed to bolster their joint global research impact.

The universities have partnered to establish the QUEX Institute as part of a wide-reaching Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the two world-leading institutions.

The partnership will strengthen a joint commitment to co-produce research of the highest quality, boost industry and business collaboration, and publish high-level policy reports designed to inform and shape key government initiatives across the globe.

Working under the overarching banner of ‘Global Sustainability and Wellbeing’, the QUEX Institute will focus on the crucial interdisciplinary themes of environmental sustainability, healthy ageing, and physical activity and nutrition, acting as a cross-continental think-tank to engage with the public, industry, research organisations, governments and funders worldwide.

Operating as a ‘virtual’ institute, the QUEX Institute will also promote opportunities for academics to conduct collaborative research at both universities, facilitated through specified and targeted investment.

New joint PhD programs will offer the most talented doctoral students the opportunity to benefit from the combined expertise and facilities at both institutions.

Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter Professor Sir Steve Smith said Exeter was “incredibly excited to announce details of the new strategic partnership with The University of Queensland”.

“We share a wealth of common research interests, which address some of the major challenges facing the world’s population, and this collaboration will help us meet these challenges head-on through truly world-leading research,” Professor Smith said.

“Together, I believe we can nurture a pioneering approach to cross-continental research that is centred on ideas, skills and – perhaps most importantly – people, to stimulate new philosophies, policies and studies that will have a global impact.”

As members respectively of the Russell Group (UK) and Group of Eight (Australia), Exeter and UQ form a partnership between world-leading universities. The high-level collaboration will bring together the University of Exeter’s global-leading expertise in health, disease and dementia research from both its Medical School and flagship Living Systems Institute, as well as its pioneering environmental research carried out at the Environment and Sustainability Institute, with UQ’s world-leading reputation in health and genetic, environmental, and mental health research.

Exeter and UQ already enjoy a close working relationship, particularly in science and medical research and, increasingly, in humanities and social science collaborations.

In the past five years, there have been more than 250 joint publications between the two institutions, while a number of Exeter academics have taken up specific research roles at UQ.

UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj said the MOA would enhance well-established research and people-to-people links between the universities.

“We share a focus on global knowledge leadership and research excellence, supporting positive social and environmental change,” Professor Høj said.

“Global connectedness and partnerships multiply the efforts of our dedicated researchers and lead to discoveries and services that create positive change for people around the world.

“Through our relationships with leading international universities such as Exeter, we are finding solutions to some of the big problems of our time, and ensuring a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future for generations to come.”

UQ tops Australia in life sciences, according to the Times Higher Education and Leiden Rankings. It was recently rated number one in the world for Biodiversity Conservation by the Centre for World University Rankings, and ranks in the top five globally for sports science in two global rankings systems.

On Friday 2 June, Professors Sir Steve Smith and Janice Kay from the University of Exeter joined their counterparts from The University of Queensland to formally sign the MOA.

It was part of a special visit to Queensland by a delegation from Exeter, in which they celebrated formalising the relationship, and held the first meeting of the Institute’s joint strategic board.

University of Exeter Provost Professor Kay said the partnership would offer outstanding opportunities for world-leading academics to collaborate on global issues including environmental sustainability, healthy aging and physical activity.

“An innovative and prestigious new joint PhD programme will mean that students will benefit from studying at Exeter and UQ, working with research teams at both institutions and graduating with a PhD from both institutions,” Professor Kay said.

“This is just one example of the exciting ways in which we are empowering the brightest and best minds from across continents to deliver on some of the world’s biggest challenges.”

Date: 2 June 2017

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