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Universities of Birmingham and Amsterdam launch strategic partnership

The Universities of Birmingham and Amsterdam have launched a strategic partnership – the product of a long track-record of collaboration between the two universities, spanning a wide range of academic disciplines, and including staff and student exchange. 

The partnership focuses initially on two areas: equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI); and medical training and research. EDI is an issue that is of the highest importance to both universities, located as they are in highly diverse cities. Working together will enable academics, students and professional services staff across the universities to research, teach and promote EDI.

Both universities are home to some of the largest and strongest medical schools in the world. Partnership working will benefit students during their training, leading to joint research projects in areas such as cardiovascular disease, microbiology and infection.

The partnership launch was marked by a two-day joint EDI workshop featuring keynote contributions by researchers at each university, focussing on issues such as the gender pay gap, student diversity and supporting the educational success of minority groups.

Birmingham contributors to the EDI workshop included Professor of Leadership & Enterprise Development Kiran Trehan, as well as organisational management experts Professor Joanne Duberley and Dr Holly Birkett. 

The partnership agreement was signed at a special ceremony in Amsterdam yesterday evening (2 July) by University of Birmingham Provost Professor Tim Jones and University of Amsterdam Rector Magnificus Karen Maex.

Professor Tim Jones commented: “Europe continues to be a region of key importance for the University of Birmingham – in both research and education. As a major strand in our global engagement strategy, we’re building and strengthening partnerships with priority institutions across the EU, and are delighted to agree this key partnership.

“We’re proud to join the University of Amsterdam in a partnership between two leading international universities built on our complementary strengths. We believe our collaboration will produce high-profile research with global impact, excellent opportunities for students in both countries and create a leading-edge partnership in European HE sector – encouraging academics, students and staff to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.”

As students face uncertainty about study opportunities in Europe post-Brexit, the two universities will create exchange opportunities through a student mobility agreement allowing Birmingham students to spend time studying at Amsterdam, and vice-versa.

Rector Magnificus Karen Maex commented: “The partnership with Birmingham will provide new opportunities for our students and staff to work together and create new synergies. I’m very pleased that we have renewed and intensified our collaboration.”

The Universities plan to collaborate across professional services – developing best practice exchange around institutional governance 

University of Birmingham Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Robin Mason commented: “Building on the long-standing connection between Amsterdam and Birmingham, this partnership will help to connect researchers, educators and professional services teams across a range of different areas. 

“While the initial focus of the partnership involves two areas — equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and medical training and research — we look forward to the collaboration broadening as well as deepening, to cover other areas of mutual interest.”

Amsterdam and Birmingham are both members of the Universitas 21 global network of leading, research-intensive universities.

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