Looking back

We have welcomed 3 new members 

WUN is strengthened further with new members Renmin University of China, National Cheng Kung University of Taiwan and the University of Nairobi, who bring added expertise, diversity and resources to the partnership. We encourage WUN members to explore opportunities for collaboration directly with the new members’ counterparts. Contact details are listed on the member profile pages.

WUN Forum and AGM in Maastricht

Maastricht University hosted 400 academics and university leaders from around the world at the WUN Conference & AGM in April 2016. The event consisted of 10 events across 8 days and covered a broad array of issues including migration, public health, economics, youth resilience, internationalisation of higher education and China’s global supply chains. Among several noteworthy moments throughout the Conference & AGM was the signing of a collaboration agreement between WUN and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). WUN’s strengths in public health research were bolstered with an agreement to place a WUN research fellow at the World Health Organization in Geneva. WUN’s Global China Group hosted the second China FDI Workshop ‘Understanding China’s FDI and Global Supply Chains: Europe and the World’.

The joint WUN-Maastricht University International Classroom Symposium brought together WUN experts from around the world to share their research insights and best practices in regard to internationalisation in higher education. Delegates participated in four interactive workshops to discuss topics such as ethics, digital diversity and intercultural learning.

The WUN Forum and AGM is the opportunity for our network to bring an international community of researchers together to share ideas, spark collaboration and further our ground-breaking research. The 2017 meetings in New York also offer the opportunity to facilitate a focused discussion about the new strategic plan within and among all the groups represented in WUN. Don’t miss it!

Research Highlights

WUN is pursuing near 90 global interdisciplinary research groups (IRGs) within four main Global Challenge programs. About 15 new programs are completed each year, and 15 competitive new proposals win Research Development Fund support. This renewal cycle helps to keep a cutting edge.

Good practise examples
WUN success stories where sustainability and autonomy are already largely achieved include the Critical Zones Program, Inflammatory Disease program (INFLAME), and Optimal Pregnancy Environmental Risk Assessment program (OPERA). Study of these cases can provide models for success.

Interview with Professor Susan Prescott, in-FLAME’s academic lead.

The following examples are well on their way to autonomy and have been selected as the WUN Top 10 for accelerated development and funding bids, and an indication of the WUN work-plan for 2016-17:

  • Responding to Climate Change: (i) Global Farm Platforms for intensification of production; (ii) Development of Legumes as novel nutritional resources for animals and humans (Articles in Nature).
  • Public Health: (i) Life Course prevention of obesity, heart disease and diabetes; (ii) new approaches to ageing health. These programs are in part collaboration with the World Health Organisation.
  • Higher Education and Research:  Reform of higher education systems, including equity and access, mobility and finance; contribution to fragile states and economies; sustainable development goals.
  • Understanding Cultures: Global Migration data and policy options (cooperative alliance with IOM).

Big Data/Web Science and Observatories/Digital Futures. The web observatory program integrates data development across global challenges in health, climate, education, migration.

Higher Education Mobility The WUN network represents a 20 university international community. There is a vibrant postgraduate research mobility program (RMP) for staff and students; Undergraduate research development programs are currently being actively explored.


Global China Group Two new members have joined (Renmin and NCKU); programs in “two way understanding of China” including understanding China’s FDI and global supply chains have been developed; international policies with the “Belt and Road”.

Global Africa Group Focusing equal partnerships in research in environment, food and nutrition, education and economic development, opportunities with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Please send through your Best Practice examples for promotion and analysis.


Our network again offered an extensive array of cutting-edge conferences, workshops, seminars and events throughout the year, including:

November, 2016


Marrakesh, Morocco

November, 2016
OPERA China workshop

Chongqing, China

October, 2016
Air Sensors Everywhere Small Sensor Symposium

National Railway Museum, York, United Kingdom

Keep your eye on the Events calendar to keep track of this year’s activities and make sure to promote your events via the WUN website.