From education to employment

University of Birmingham renews successful transatlantic partnership

UIUC Chancellor Professor Robert Jones (left) and University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor & Principal Professor Adam Tickell.

The University of Birmingham and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have renewed and expanded their successful transatlantic research and education partnership.

Both universities have committed to supporting the Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education (BRIDGE) for another five years – strengthening strategic collaboration, not just with each other, but with other partners around the world

The renewal includes afive-year Fellowship in Water Sciences- an area of long-standing collaboration between the two universities.  Birmingham aquatic biogeochemist Sophie Comer-Warner will work closely with senior researchers in the UK and USA – spending up to two years at Urbana-Champaign.

The BRIDGE Fellowship in Water Scienceswas established because of recent breakthroughs and initial collaborations between Birmingham and Illinois concerning the interface between water sciences and emerging pollutants.

Sophie Comer-Warner will unite resources and existing projects from both institutions – stimulating further collaboration across the two institutions and beyond, as well as bridging the gaps between interdisciplinary approaches to a common goal.

In addition, both universities have agreed to focus on several areas of strategic significance including health innovation, sustainability and climate action, alongside global access to and equity in education.  There is also commitment to extending joint research and collaboration in the Global South.

UIUC Chancellor Professor Robert Jones, University of Birmingham Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Adam Tickell signed the new agreement at a ceremony inside the Medical Sciences Building at Urbana-Champaign.

Professor Adam Tickell commented:

“The partnership between Birmingham and Urbana-Champaign  represents all that is best in two great universities working together – built on more than 100 research collaborations between faculty colleagues. Renewing our partnership allows us to innovate and jointly deliver research that can improve the lives of people around the world. Our BRIDGE fellowships create a unique opportunity for early career researchers to build international networks that will allow their careers to flourish.”

The partnership is a commitment from both institutions to continue strengthening strategic collaboration, not just with each other, but with other partners around the world in a way that aligns with the goals and values set forth in Vision 2030, the global strategy for UIUC.

The universities established BRIDGE in 2014 and the partnership has become one of the most robust strategic alliances between a US and a UK university. April 2024 will mark the 10th anniversary of the BRIDGE alliance and both universities will celebrate this key milestone with a series of joint activities and initiatives.

UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones commented:

“This is a very exciting time and I think a critical juncture in our relationship, and I can’t wait to see what we will build together next. It’s been a great honour to be part of this and just to see first-hand what two major and important research universities can do together to not only work on complex issues but to train and advance the next generation of academics and researchers who are going to be working on the cutting edge of these challenging issues.”

The Birmingham-Illinois BRIDGE partnership enhances the city of Birmingham’s sister city relationship with Chicago, Illinois, of more than 30 years. It has brought together international research teams in the UK and USA to recruit high-potential, early-career researchers and contribute to the research and academic excellence of both institutions in key areas.

Related Articles