Professor Deborah Terry AO and Professor Lisa Roberts

Universities of Exeter and Queensland renew their commitment to working in partnership to find solutions to pressing global challenges

During a recent visit to the University of Exeter, Professor Deborah Terry AO, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Queensland, and Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, signed an agreement renewing the Universities’ partnership through the QUEX Institute for a further five years, and discussed their shared vision for the future.

Through the QUEX Institute, the Universities are tackling major global challenges through impactful interdisciplinary research, staff and student mobility and industry and community engagement, under the overarching topic of Global Sustainability and Wellbeing. Established in 2017, QUEX has three themes: Healthy Living, Global Environmental Futures, and Digital Worlds and Disruptive Technologies.

Central to QUEX is the joint PhD programme, which has now funded 46 students who have the exciting opportunity to study in both the UK and Australia. Research by QUEX students is providing insights into critical global issues, including a recent paper in Global Change Biology led by student Jen McWhorter, which indicated that parts of the Great Barrier Reef will be hit with extreme levels of coral bleaching five times each decade by the middle of this century, unless global warming is kept below 2oC. QUEX students have also published in leading journals such as Nature Genetics, Nature Communications, Nature Sustainability and Genome Medicine.

Four QUEX students presented their work at the signing ceremony. One of the first students to gain his doctorate, Jimmy Wangdi described his work exploring how a type of cherry supplement can improve exercise performance and recovery in competitive athletes. Mohamed Mohamed is exploring ways to regulate deepfakes online, working with companies that are tackling online harms and those commercialising the technology behind deepfakes on research that will help to inform future legislation. Sam Kraus’s project addresses the threats of antimicrobial resistance; while Ellen Williamson is researching the use of algae as a source of protein in people’s diets.

The Universities of Exeter and Queensland are now working on exciting new collaborative plans, such as launching an innovative joint online Master’s programme on the topic of Global Environmental Futures in 2023.

Professor Roberts said: “We were delighted to celebrate the work of QUEX Institute students and researchers and to mark their fantastic ambition and expertise. The future of the QUEX Institute looks both strong and full of new and exciting opportunities as we continue to work closely together on research, innovation and commercialisation.”

Date: 8 June 2022

Read more University News