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The past week’s higher education news demonstrates that there are certain expectations of universities that policymakers, HE leaders and the Augar review are expected to address, says Johnny Rich, Chief Executive of the Engineering Professors’ Council and Chief Executive of outreach organisation Push .
Leaders of thirty universities have signed a Civic University Agreement, reaffirming their institution's commitment to their local communities by pledging to put the economy and quality of life in their home towns and cities at the top of their list of priorities.
UK Research and Innovation has announced a "pioneering and ambitious new approach" to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges through a £200 million investment across 12 global research Hubs.
Over the next five years the Interdisciplinary Research Hubs will work across 85 countries with governments, international agencies, partners and NGOs on the ground in developing countries and around the globe, to develop creative and sustainable solutions which help make the world, and the UK, safer, healthier and more prosperous.
The new Hubs are funded through the Global Challenges Research Fund - which is a key component in delivering the UK AID strategy and aims to put UK-led research at the heart of efforts to tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The Hubs focus on a wide range of global challenges from improving human health and promoting gender equality and social justice to fortifying ecological systems and biodiversity on land and sea, generating agricultural sustainability and fostering greater resilience to natural disasters. Building on existing expertise and experience each Hub aims to achieve tangible outcomes that will improve the lives and livelihoods of millions across the world.
Announcing the 12 UKRI GCRF Hubs alongside 16 other international research partnerships, Science and Universities Minister Chris Skidmore, said:
“The UK has a reputation for globally influential research and innovation, and is at the centre of a web of global collaboration – showing that science has no borders.
“We have a strong history of partnering with other countries – over 50% of UK authored research involves collaborations with international partners.
“The projects being announced today reinforce our commitment to enhance the UK’s excellence in innovation at home and around the world, driving high-skilled jobs, economic growth and productivity as part of the modern Industrial Strategy.”
Professor Andrew Thompson, UKRI Executive Champion for International, said:
“The sheer scale and ambition of these Hubs is what makes them so exciting. They enable us to deliver a coordinated global response with UK researchers working in partnership with governments, NGOs, community groups, international agencies and researchers across developing countries. Each Hub has the potential to transform the quality of life for many people throughout the world and safeguard our planet for future generations.”
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