Announcing the next in our series of Early Career Researcher Networking Workshops
WUN, in collaboration with the UNESCO Education Sector and UNSDSN, is holding a series of free virtual networking workshops for early career researchers (ECRs) under the theme of ‘developing the
Innovating the mathematics curriculum in times of change
Academics increasingly recognise the need to decolonise learning, not merely by bringing in marginalised materials or perspectives but by looking more fundamentally at educational practices. In this context, mathematics has
Research for better health resource allocation
Healthcare policy-making is intended to improve population health and reduce health inequalities, and is most effective when informed by high quality research. This is particularly successful when academic institutions establish
WUN Special Program for Early Career Researchers
“The WUN ECR programme is a timely example of the importance of global communication, particularly during an international crisis. Understanding the current pressures on our junior colleagues, and examining potential
WUN Research Group Hosts Gender and (Im)Mobility Conference
The International Conference on Gender and (Im)mobility in Uncertain Times, held on March 11-12, was hosted online by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). The conference was organised by
African Child and Youth Wellbeing in the Context of Migration and Displacement
A global research group supported by WUN is working to boost the wellbeing of African children and young people who have migrated or been displaced. Many African communities have high
Investigating the efficacy of traditional Ghanaian medicines
A WUN research team has investigated the efficacy of traditional Ghanaian medicines in combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and identified several such that are highly effective, at least in a
Introducing WUN Hub
WUN Hub is a database that enables WUN researchers to find and connect with WUN colleagues and WUN-supported research projects. As a WUN researcher you join the HUB by creating
Replay: WUN ECR Networking Workshop on Sustainable Cities and Communities
The Worldwide Universities Network recently held the third in its special program series of networking workshops for early career researchers (ECR) on the theme of Developing the next generation of research
Researcher profile: Alberta professor leads team to study COVID-impact on women’s health care
Nursing professor Salima Meherali is leading international research looking for ways to address serious gaps the COVID-19 pandemic has created in health-care services for teen girls in low- and middle-income
WUN research group organises International Conference on Gender and (Im)mobility in Uncertain Times
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) researcher Professor Jing Song will hold an international conference on 11-12 March 2021 as part of her WUN interdisciplinary research group ‘Women’s Mobility: Negotiating
WUN special program for early career researchers off to successful start with focus on SDGs 4 and 13
WUN recently held the first set networking workshops as part of its special program for early career researcher (ECR) entitled “Developing the next generation of research leaders for sustainable development.” The first two, of which there will be 17 in total, focused on SDG 13: Climate Action, and SDG 4: Quality Education, respectively. Click through for a summary and videos of the keynote talks.
A planetary health pledge to unite health professionals in the Anthropocene
The inVIVO Planetary Health network, which has its origins in a 2012 WUN Research Development Fund grant, pursues positive change that reflect the link between people and place. In a November 2020 publication in The Lancet, researchers from inVIVO appealed for health professionals to pledge their dedication ‘to the service of humanity, and to the protection of natural systems on which human health depends.’ We asked experts around the Worldwide Universities Network for their perspectives on the pledge and its effort to expand the interpretation of ‘first do no harm’ to reflect human connections to the planet. Click through for more.
International Symposium on Digital Health 2020
SUMMARY Digital infrastructures and the data they can harness are opening up new possibilities for health care. The potential benefits are extremely wide-ranging, and with digital health technologies developing so
WUN Online Summer School at the University of York: Registration Open
As a member university of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) your students may be aware of the ground-breaking research that your institution is doing to support the United Nations Sustainable
WUN Research Development Fund 2020 Awards Announcement
WUN is pleased to announce the results of the Research Development Fund (RDF) 2020 round on the theme of Sustainable Recovery. These awards mark a direct investment in international collaborative research among WUN
Global Africa Group celebrates the launch of their ground-breaking book
SUMMARY WUN’s Global Africa Group (GAG) has marked the publication of a collective work to critically examine development approaches in Africa. Drawing on workshops held in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Australia,
In homes across the globe: understanding the mental health issues of intimate partner violence
SUMMARY Intimate partner violence is shockingly widespread: the World Health Organization estimates that, as a global average, one in three women have experienced violence from a male partner or former
Policies for pandemic response: how is evidence shaping action?
Researchers and policy experts from across the globe are collaborating to monitor and analyse the role of evidence in policy-making during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their data cover more than 100 countries, publicly accessible in the INGSA COVID-19 Evidence-to-Policy Tracker. Click through to read more about this WUN-supported initiative.
Cheap, consistent, clean? Changing the models for sustainable electricity access
In Ghana, the term “dumsor” (literally meaning “off-on”) is a term that was born to describe the periods of electricity blackouts in 2015 when the country experienced persistent and intermittent power outages. Though access to electricity is widespread, communities in different regions confront challenges of reliability, cost, and safety.
Click through to read about how the WUN-funded research group SEN-Africa is working on new models that incorporate the range of stakeholder priorities.
Register now for inVIVO’s 9th annual conference
WUN is delighted to share details of the upcoming inVIVO Planetary Health 9th annual conference. Please vist this link for information on their program, and to register. inVIVO Planetary Health provides an integrative systems framework
WUN research group to hold international symposium: Digital Health In COVID-19
The International Symposium on Digital Health is an annual event that connects international experts and professionals from the healthcare and engineering sectors in the promotion of interdisciplinary research in digital health. Click through to learn more about this upcoming free virtual symposium.
Lift-off for WUN’s early career researcher networking series
Why do we have the Sustainable Development Goals and why are university collaborations essential in making progress on them? Hear from Peter Lennie, WUN Executive Director, and special guest Jeffrey Sachs, President of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, as they launch a new WUN networking initiative for early-career researchers working on the world’s biggest challenges.
WUN research group to hold international symposium: 2020 A Year Without Public Space
A WUN Interdisciplinary Research Group is hosting an international symposium that reflects on the challenges and opportunities in thinking about what counts as public space during a global pandemic. WUN Executive Director Peter Lennie and Chair of Global Higher Education and Research Global Challenge Chair Jose Escamilla, join PI Hendrik Tieben to discuss ‘Campus as Public Space in the Age of Pandemics’. Click through for the program and registration information.
Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals
We are delighted to invite you to the virtual launch of the Worldwide Universities Network Global Africa Group book, Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals. Attendees are invited to meet the editors of Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals and participate in a live Q&A session with its contributors. Click through for full details and to register for the event.
This is one of the first academic publications to comprehensively and critically engage with the intersection of the Sustainable Development Goals and African development agendas. It presents multidisciplinary research that captures the necessary complexity and breadth of the theory and practice of sustainable development on the continent.
Click through for full details and to register for the event.
Setting a new standard for COVID-19 testing
With a potentially large proportion of COVID-19 cases showing no symptoms but still infectious, sensitive and accurate methods of testing for the virus are essential to reduce the dangers of transmission within communities. A newly established WUN research group is helping to refine testing methods of testing for SARS-Cov-2.
Click through for the full story.
Restoring the invisible: new network to explore Indigenous epistemologies
The ways of thinking and knowing developed in Indigenous cultures have long been marginalised within the academy and in public life, including in approaches to the environment, migration, and justice. Dr June Bam–Hutchison (University of Cape Town) is leading a collaborative network that aims to restore understandings of Indigenous concepts, enrich existing scholarship, and help to develop new approaches to today’s global challenges.
International Development Program for Early Career Researchers
WUN, in collaboration with UNESCO and the UNSDSN, will hold a series of free virtual networking workshops for early career researchers under the theme of ‘developing the next generation of research leaders for sustainable development’. The workshops will bring together early career researchers from all around the world interested in establishing connections to colleagues in their field.
Click through to learn more about this exciting program and to register for the inaugrural event.
Healthy cities and community needs: reconfiguring public spaces in the age of pandemics
Some of the most striking spaces of the twentieth century were conceived with the modernist ambition to make urban living healthier. In the twenty-first century, the COVID-19 crisis and the changing use of public space is encouraging a return to such thinking. These debates have crystallised discussions of how to make public spaces work best for local communities—questions that the WUN group on sustainable, healthy cities has been exploring in their research and practice for several years. Click through to discover more.
WUN Profile: Martin Paul completes his term as chair
During his productive term as Chair of the Partnership Board, Martin Paul (President of Maastricht University) challenged WUN to think harder and more sharply about the areas in which it can be most valuable. While it was founded to harness the benefits of multilateral collaboration in research, in recent years WUN has developed additional ways to benefit its members. ‘With networks you benefit from them only if you are an active partner,’ a belief that underpinned his engagement with and investment in WUN.
WUN welcomes newest member Makerere University
We are delighted to announce that Makerere University has joined the Worldwide Universities Network. WUN warmly welcomes Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nwangwe and colleagues as partners. Click through to learn more.
Webinar on restarting research during the pandemic: summary of insights from across five continents
The third instalment of WUN’s webinar series sharing experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic focused on research: how universities are managing priorities during campus closures and conditions on returning to work. Click through for a summary and recording of the event.
Global study on the pandemic’s impact on university staff and student wellbeing
An international consortium of WUN member universities along with WUN+ partners is examining the experiences of staff members and students at universities around the world, seeking to reveal the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on their mental health and wellbeing. Click through to learn about the project and to access their global survey for academic staff members.
Advancing telerobotics to make hospitals safer for health workers
With health care workers across the world taking on extreme risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, WUN is supporting a team of engineers and scientists to make treating patients safer for hospital staff. Read more here about the collaboration between members Zhejiang University and The University of Sheffield to develop a robot that will reduce the risk of infection on isolation wards.
WUN Webinar on ‘Restarting Research During the Pandemic’ to be held on 10 September – Register Now
On 10 September, we will explore what strategies have emerged from both an institutional and researcher perspective, and in response to challenges presented by different disciplines, to restarting research during the pandemic. We will discuss what we’ve learned from both success and failure, and how the diversity of experiences from around the network can help inform the way we restart of research in this new landscape. Click through for more information and to register.
Launch of the WUN 2020 Research Development Fund: Sustainable Recovery
WUN is pleased to announce that the Research Development Fund (RDF) 2020 round, focused on the theme of Sustainable Recovery, is now open.
As the world approaches investment in recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing attention is being paid to doing this in ways that will be sustainable, which is aligned with WUN’s strategic goals and focus on sustainable development. This presents the network with a unique opportunity to initiate projects that anticipate the major investments that will be made over the coming years, and enlarge the impact and global recognition of WUN.
CUHK Study Suggests Hot Nights Pose Greater Threat to Public Health
A study done by the Institute of Future Cities at CUHK reveals that hot nights pose greater threat to public health than hot days and better urban planning and building design are needed to mitigate the impact.
Adaptive sociality: WUN-funded research explores student learning during COVID-19
It will take years to understand the impacts, positive and negative, of the mass experiment in distance learning catalysed by COVID-19. Supported by WUN, researchers have started to explore the experiences of university students, using cases across four continents to bring out comparative insights.
WUN Executive Director presents to high-level UN meeting on universities and the SDGs
Peter Lennie discusses the importance of collaborative networks at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network ‘University Sector Support to UN Secretary-General’s Call for a Decade of Action on the SDGs: A Meeting of Presidents of Universities’. to an audience of university and United Nations leaders.
Maintaining student engagement and attention online: insights from the latest WUN webinar
In the second of the WUN webinars on challenges universities are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching and learning experts shared their experiences and techniques for helping students stay engaged with their courses during online delivery. Every university in the Network has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and has had to adapt at pace. However, these common challenges have taken diverse forms and prompted distinctive solutions, with each university responding to a specific and locally grounded set of dynamics.
Click through for a summary of the discussion and to watch a video of the webinar in its entirety.
Awards Announcement: Addressing Research Needs Triggered by the Pandemic
WUN is pleased to announce the results of its 2020 special initiative to address research needs triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eight awards were made to support time-sensitive research projects whose value depends on being able to collect or analyse data obtained during the pandemic, and on which the collaboration of WUN partners confers real advantage. Awarded project teams are comprised of researchers from across 19 WUN member universities.
Peter Lennie, Executive Director of WUN, said “We had an overwhelming response to this special call, and received many strong and exciting proposals. The eight successful projects take special advantage of member universities’ cultural and geographical diversity in tackling urgent and important problems that have arisen from the pandemic.”
Click through to learn more about the awarded projects.
Maintaining Student Engagement and Attention During Remote Course Delivery
WUN is hosting a series of webinars to help member universities benefit from each other’s experience in addressing some of the unprecedented pandemic-related challenges facing them. The next in our series, to be held on Thursday 23 July will discuss the challenge of maintaining student engagement and attention during remote course delivery.
Universities around the network have deployed various approaches, reflecting the different geographical and cultural contexts in which they work, to help keep students engaged as classes have shifted from the classroom to computer screen. In this webinar we will explore what successful strategies have emerged, what we’ve learned from failures, and how the diversity of experiences from around the network can help inform each of us as we continue to teach remotely.
Click through to learn more and register for the webinar.
University of Lausanne joins WUN
We are delighted to announce that the University of Lausanne (UNIL) has become the newest member of WUN.
Rector Nouria Hernandez noted that “UNIL is very excited to join WUN and to contribute to its development. We are particularly enthusiastic about the focus of the network on research activities and collaboration, and above all the fact that it addresses major contemporary challenges. These issues are also high on UNIL’s agenda.”
WUN Executive Director Peter Lennie added, “The distinctive strength of the network lies in its capacity to bring together major research universities from different parts of the world to collaborate on solving global challenges—particularly those related to sustainable development. In joining WUN, the University of Lausanne adds significantly to our strengths, and to our effectiveness in addressing research challenges.” Click through to read the full story.
Sustainable Oceans Series: Highlighting Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life Below Water
(22 June series update)
Following World Oceans Day, WUN is pleased to share a presentation of a series of articles in which United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) presents ocean science from WUN member the University of Bergen, UNAI’s Hub institution for SDG 14: Life below water in the Sustainable Ocean Series.
We will be sharing four features from this project, a new article to be published each Monday, and also highlight what WUN research teams are doing to address the future of our oceans. Click through for more.
Mental health and COVID-19: How WUN universities are supporting their students
Before COVID-19 there were transnational trends in student mental health as well as local particularities, as students face adjustment challenges, the demands of a competitive environment and external pressures like finances and employability.
As the pandemic and related containment measures take hold, click through to learn about how WUN universities are supporting students’ mental health.
African landscapes facing climate change: using an integrated approach to mitigate impacts
Through transdisciplinary research the WUN Interdisciplinary Research Group on Climate Resilient African Landscapes is building insights into how different stakeholders use and shape the places they share. The group has established practitioner partnerships and is capitalising on regional and global academic networks.
Click to read more about the approach they are taking as their work continues.
Mobilising around mobility: unique WUN collaboration to study wellbeing and sustainable transport
How do individuals weigh up the options of different modes of transport? Do they value speed, accessibility, cleanliness, health, or cost when choosing how to get around? What choices are available and how might this change? Funded by a 2020 Research Development Fund grant, this new WUN Interdisciplinary Research Group brings the power of five key institutes to the challenges—and benefits—of promoting greater use of sustainable forms of mobility, with their associated outcomes for health and wellbeing. Click through for the full story.
WUN Research Mobility Program: Ideas in motion
In this story, we hear how two WUN member researchers benefited from new connections made through the Research Mobility Program: Colin Chu, who worked with engineers at the University of Rochester, and Victoria Rivera Ugarte, who collaborated with social scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Click through to learn more about their discoveries and plans.
Climate and shock: resilience in food production systems after COVID-19
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, interruptions to public services and the imposition of social distancing have had major impacts on global agriculture and food supply. Professor Mark Eisler of the WUN supported Global Farm Platform discusses likely impacts of the crisis and the potential for rebuilding systems in more environmentally and economically sustainable way.
Click through to read more.
Trauma, climate change, and maternal health: increasing impacts, trans-generational effects
Stressors and traumas such as violence and abuse, the effects of poverty, and the experience of emergencies or disasters have a major impact on the health of pregnant women and their children.
As the impact of climate change multiplies the threats, understanding why and how we can make effective and early interventions is paramount.
Click through to read the full story.
Student Mental Health During the Pandemic
WUN is hosting a series of webinars to help member universities benefit from each other’s experience in addressing some of the unprecedented pandemic-related challenges now facing them. Each webinar will last an hour, and will be organised around the sharing of insights about a specific challenge, followed by a broad Q&A.
The focus of our first webinar, to be held on Tuesday 5 May (click through for local times) will be student mental health. The webinar will begin with the sharing of both research and practice insights and experiences from members of the WUN Student Mental Health Working Group. This will be followed by a broader discussion with all attendees.
CUHK Proves & Visualises the Harmful Effect of Ozone Damage on Plants
CUHK Proves and Visualises the Harmful Effect of Ozone Damage on PlantsFirst Plant-based Measurement of Ozone in South China Region A research team led by Prof. Amos Tai, Associate Professor of
Call for proposals: WUN addressing research needs triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic
To enable WUN as a network to best address research needs triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, WUN is making available a limited number of grants for collaborative projects that focus on research challenges related to the present pandemic, and are urgent and of the moment.
We therefore welcome special requests to support projects that a) should be undertaken now, because circumstances will be less favourable later; b) benefit particularly from collaboration among WUN partners (e.g., capitalize on the geographical and cultural diversity of the network).
Click through for full details.
WUN Annual General Meeting 2021 Announcement
Although we won’t be able to gather this year for the 2020 WUN Annual General Meeting (AGM), we are excited to announce the dates for WUN AGM 2021!
Working with Tecnológico de Monterrey, we have been able to confirm arrangements for the WUN AGM 2021, which will take place in Monterrey, Mexico from 17-21 May 2021.
CUHK Launches the “Class Acts” Online Talk Series
To encourage ongoing learning at home and self-improvement by acquiring knowledge in various areas during the pandemic, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) hosts the “Class Acts” CUHK Online
New consortium to bring interdisciplinary insights on climate-induced migration
While disasters and environmental factors have always been important drivers of migration, even more people are expected to move as they face the projected impacts of climate change, including more extreme weather events, changes in water quality and availability, and interactions with conflict.
A recent ruling of the UN Human Rights Committee, which stated that people cannot be sent back to countries where climate change impacts place them in immediate danger, was treated by many commentators as a landmark protection for environmental migrants. As Professor Andreas Neef (University of Auckland) explains in this feature, the reality is more complex. Recipient of a 2020 WUN Research Development Fund award, a WUN member consortium will advance interdisciplinary research into climate-induced migration. It aims to help improve policies through a better understanding of the complex drivers of migration and displacement associated with climatic changes. Click through for the full story.
WUN Summer School
UPDATE: The WUN Summer School, originally scheduled for July 2020, has been postponed to 2021 due to covid-19 developments. The information and application website will be re-opened for the 2021 program in due course.
WUN Research Development Fund 2019 Results
WUN is pleased to announce the results of the 2019 round of the Research Development Fund (RDF) applications. These awards, which facilitate collaborative research among WUN universities, will bring our financial investment in establishing new WUN Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs) to more than £170,000 over the past six months.
From among 31 applications, we have been able to support 15 projects from the RDF. Notably, all 23 WUN member universities are represented on awarded projects research teams in this round. These new projects join 88 existing IRGs that have engaged over 2300 researchers across the Network.
Since 2009 the WUN Research Development Fund (RDF) has directly invested over £2 million to establish research projects on problems of global significance, and on which member universities, working together, can make distinctive progress.
Infections and allergies: a cross-generational riddle
In 2015 a WUN-funded research collaboration among the Universities of Bergen, Cape Town, and Southampton set out to understand whether parasite exposure is having an impact on allergy rates. Their research since suggests that the answer is yes, but exactly what is happening and why remains a mystery. Click through to read the full story.
Inclusive research supporting women’s integration
Public debates about marriage migration are vulnerable to a series of misconceptions, often conflating migration with trafficking and undermining the agency of the women who migrate. The WUN Marriage Migrants in Asia research group is addressing these misconceptions with interdisciplinary research that aims to inform regional policy. Click through to read more about their activities and the thinking behind them.
Action research for a cleaner future
Not just talking, but doing: with funding from the WUN Research Development Fund, academics from four WUN universities got together with experts and decision-makers in Accra to combine forces on global waste management. Professor Shyama V. Ramani and PhD researcher Ms Maria Tomai talk here about their recent activities.
Modelling marine microplastics: international workshop explores new challenges
Did you know that teabags are made of plastic? Do you know where that plastic ends up? With WUN funding, a team of researchers led by Professor Bruce Sutherland (University of Alberta) are learning how to predict the movements of microplastics after their entry into water systems. Click through to read more about their recent workshop and their goal to help policy-makers take action.
WUN funding helps lay foundation for international cooperation on digital health
New technologies are capturing different information about health and treatments, opening up new pathways for more efficient and effective care. With its distinctive collaborative model, the WUN Digital Health Research Network has founded a new international society and is developing methodologies for studying and evaluating digital health innovations. Click through for the full story.
CROP-FS tackles gritty issues of global food security
The WUN-sponsored project Crop-FS (Climate-resilient open partnership for food security) is a consortium of 24 highly reputed international researchers engaged in conducting cutting-edge research to develop climate-resilient crops, microbial communities, and soil amendments for improving crop productivity under extreme environments.
PI Prof Om Parkash (UMass Amherst) explains that since its launch in 2016, the consortium has grown exponentially with more than 14 universities and institutions across five continents now involved. (Click through for full story)
Smart research, smart policy, smart care
By 2050, the world’s population of people over the age of 60 will double, which has significant implications for sustainable development. The World Health Organisation’s Decade on Healthy Ageing 2020–2030 calls for concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families and the communities in which they live. PI Professor Ka Lin (Zhejiang University, China) says the WUN-funded research he’s been leading has yielded several significant findings in this area since the collaborative project kicked off in 2018 with the construction of a new analytical framework that brings innovation studies together with elderly care studies.
WUN’s legume research – a lynchpin to global food security
WUN’s Legume Network is building a global reputation for research excellence – paving the way for pulses to be embraced as crucial allies in the fight against climate change, hunger, obesity and other threats to world health.
In 2018, the network was awarded a sustainability grant from WUN to bolster its efforts to secure large-scale, transnational funding to establish a centre of excellence and associated nodes of research. “Large-scale funding will ensure we tackle major challenges in legume biology as a unified world-leading academic community of excellence, driving WUN bioscience forward in this key area,” says PI Associate Professor Michael Considine (UWA).
WUN’s Legumes Network comprises dozens of leading scientists across 12 institutions from five continents. Since its launch in 2015, the number of papers published relating to legumes and climate change has tripled from under 20 to more than 60 per annum – many connected directly to the network. (Click through to full story.)
New paper probes data diplomacy’s expanding role
The convergence of data and diplomacy and its far-reaching effects are the focus of a new academic paper by WUN-affiliated researchers published in Science & Diplomacy.
Data Diplomacy was co-authored by Andy Boyd (Bristol), Jane Gatewood, (Rochester), Stuart Thorson, (Syracuse) and Timothy Dye (Rochester). The publication reflects insights from the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) symposium on data diplomacy held at the Academy of Medicine in New York in October 2015. It also names symposium delegates who lent their expertise in the areas of public health and translational research, governance and public policy, and data sharing and management to investigate the intersection of data and diplomatic engagement.
The paper shows data to be a two-edged sword: used to empower communities by granting them cultural capital and opening diplomatic possibilities, and as a tool to manage citizens’ behaviour. (Click through to full story.)
University of Bergen awarded large EU project on migration
University of Bergen researcher Hakan G. Sicakkan will lead a new EU-backed project on migration. The PROTECT project has been awarded EUR 3.3 mill from EU´s Horizon 2020 programme for the next 5 years. The project, which will closely follow the United Nations’ two new global compacts on migration and refugees, includes 11 partner institutions from Europe, Canada and South-Africa and will start 1 February 2020.
Fostering Energy Leadership: UAlberta provides global perspectives in 2019 WUN Summer School
The University of Alberta set the stage for student discovery in the areas of traditional energy development, future energy systems, environment, and land reclamation by hosting the Worldwide Universities Network Summer School this July.
Strengthening the science-policy nexus at the United Nations
Image: United Nations The University of Bergen visited the High-level Political Forum at the United Nations in July to strengthen the science-policy advice in the approaches to and implementation of
Launch of the 2019 WUN Research Development Fund
WUN is pleased to announce that the Research Development Fund (RDF) 2019 round is now open.
In its eleventh year, the RDF provides researchers in WUN universities with grants of up to £10,000 to foster research collaborations across the network. Grants are offered to support projects within the scope of the four WUN Global Challenges.
“RDF support is intended to help investigators launch collaborative projects that capitalize on distinctive research strengths within the network”, said Professor Peter Lennie, Executive Director of WUN. “The partnership enables us to assemble an unrivalled constellation of strengths that, through the RDF, can be powerfully brought to bear on problems of real consequence.”
Maastricht University leading alliance to create one of the very first “European Universities”
WUN member Maastricht University, which leads the Young Universities for the Future of Europe alliance, has recently been awarded a large grant by the European Commission to set up one of the very first models of European Universities. WUN is strengthened when our member universities extend their reach internationally, and we congratulate Maastricht University on this notable achievement.
WUN Annual General Meeting 2019
From 19-24 May, 230 participants from WUN member universities came together for the Network’s Annual General Meeting Week 2019, hosted by University College Dublin.
Peter Lennie, Executive Director of WUN noted, “Our hosts at UCD provided a marvellous environment for a most productive meeting that highlighted both the achievements and the great potential of WUN. Several important initiatives have resulted from the meeting, and I’m confident they will bring considerable benefit to the partnership.”
WUN would once again like once again to thank President Andrew Deeks and the organising team at University College Dublin for their generous support in hosting WUN AGM 2019. The 2020 edition will be held in Monterrey, Mexico with the support of host member Tecnològico de Monterrey from 17-22 May 2020.
Click through for the full article and further images from the week.
Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019: WUN-universities walk the talk on SDGs
Led by the University of Auckland at number one, WUN universities make a strong showing in a new ranking that assesses the social and economic impact of universities based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainable Farming Practices as a Means to Maintain Food Supply & Mitigate Air Pollution
Using advanced computer models, CUHK researchers found that intercropping enables higher productivity in crops with less synthetic fertilizers and hence reduces the air pollutants being volatilized from the cropland soil. This sustainable farming practice may help maintain a stable food supply and mitigate the air pollution problem in China.
Global Partnerships for Transformational Action on the SDG 2030 Agenda
WUN member Maastricht University (UM) reports on their attendance at the second National SDG Conference Bergen.
Maastricht University’s International Staff Week for WUN Partners
To be held from 19-21 June 2019 at Maastricht University.
University of Sheffield: Visiting International Fellowship Scheme – Sociological Studies
Sheffield’s Department of Sociological Studies is now welcoming applications for its Visiting International Fellowship Scheme.
WUN Conference and AGM 2019
Held 19-24 May in Dublin, Ireland.
CUHK Professor Announces World’s First Reference-grade Wild Soybean Genome
Prof Hon-ming Lam, CUHK professor and WUN IRG leader, completed the world’s first reference-grade wild soybean genome.
WUN Summer School Accepting Applications
WUN Summer School on Energy Transitions, 8-19 July 2019, University of Alberta.
Register for inVIVO 2019
The inVIVO Planetary Health network (formerly WUN inFLAME network) announced speakers and topics for inVIVO 2019, held 15-17 May 2019 in Detroit.
Resilient Peace Final Workshop
“Exploring resilient peacebuilding actors, cultures and policy transfer in West Africa”.
Marriage Migrants in Asia international workshop
Open: call for research proposals on Marriage Migrants and Care, deadline 15 March 2019.
CUHK Deepens Ties with World-leading Institutes for Transdisciplinary Medical Robotics Research
CUHK established partnerships with ETH Zurich, Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University to deepen ties on transdisciplinary medical robotics research.
WUN OPERA Europe 2018 Workshop
The Opera Europe 2018 workshop was held in Pforzheim, Germany, from 11-12 December 2018. OPERA is a WUN-supported initiative dedicated to improving pregnancy outcomes for women and babies at risk.
WUN Global Africa Group workshop 2018
Implementing the SDGs in East Africa: Translating collaborative research into policy impact.
WUN Global Farm Platform Workshop
A novel framework for international comparisons of on-farm sustainability was the main focus of a WUN Global Farm Platform workshop held in Nairobi, November 2018
From Maastricht to Edmonton: WUN Cultivates International Research Connections
Michielse returned to Edmonton in the fall of 2018 to join Malykhin in his lab as part of a larger partnership the University of Alberta has with the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN).
WUN RDF 2018 Results: Distinctive Constellations of Talent
Sixteen projects have been awarded funds to begin in 2019.
SDG Conference Bergen 2019 Edition – Registrations Now Open
National conference on the role of Norwegian universities in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
inVIVO Abstracts and Travel Awards – NOW OPEN
Apply for a travel grant by 15 January 2019 and submit your abstract by 15 February 2019.
Religion and Gender-Based Violence: A Case Study of Accra in Global Context
WUN academic workshop report: The Shiloh Project In Ghana. An Intersectional Exploration of Religion and Gender-Based Violence.
Who doesn’t have a cell phone?
What does mobile phone usage in Africa and small-town hospitality to queer people in South Africa reveal about globalisation as it’s encountered in the margins and peripheries?
Sustaining landscapes and livelihoods in the South Pacific
A new platform to identify climate-smart adaptations in Fiji and Tonga will assist communities vulnerable to climate change.
Boosting maternal resilience after wildfire
WUN research: an inexpensive and easily replicable journalling exercise can build resilience in pregnant women affected by natural disaster.
CUHK Hosts Stanford University’s Bing Overseas Studies Program in HK
CUHK will host Stanford University’s Bing Overseas Studies Program in Hong Kong from fall 2019.
CUHK, University of Sydney, and Zhejiang University Join Global AI Academic Alliance
Several WUN members join the Global AI Academic Alliance that seeks to boost academic exchanges on AI and promote international communication and cooperation.
CUHK’s Partner State Key Laboratories renamed as State Key Laboratories
Five Partner State Key Laboratories of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) have been renamed as State Key Laboratories (SKL), enabling them with more flexibility to collaborate with different Mainland research
Launch of the WUN Research Development Fund 2018
The RDF provides researchers in WUN universities with grants of up to £10,000 to foster research collaborations across the network.
inVIVO Planetary Health announces publication of their 10 key principles for planetary health
The Canmore Declaration is defined as the interdependent vitality of all natural and anthropogenic ecosystems: social, political and otherwise.
Volunteer voice: ‘I now appreciate what WUN offers researchers’
Tinashe Jakwa volunteered at the Worldwide Universities Network Conference, AGM, and Presidents Forum 2018
53 ways Leeds is tackling global challenges
Leeds joins the University of Oxford and the LSHT in the top three.
CUHK Hosted ACU Summer School 2018
Forty-five students of 19 nationalities gathered at CUHK for the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Summer School on Designing and Creating Sustainable Communities during 1-9 July 2018.
Cultures in flux: Migration and cultural dynamics in the past and present
WUN Understanding Cultures Global Challenge Workshop: how heritage can help people deal with trauma of forced and unsafe migration
Water for sustainable food, renewable energy and biodiverse ecosystems under a changing climate
WUN Responding to Climate Change Global Challenge Workshop
WUN Public Health Global Challenge Workshop 2018
Promoting adaptability across the life course
WUN Global Higher Education and Research Workshop 2018
What 21st Century challenges for higher education should inform GHEAR’s research agenda?
WUN Presidents Forum urges closer collaboration for policy impact
We have got the talent, the knowledge, and the vehicles through the policy institutes
Five key recommendations for improving data on missing migrants
Migration Data Portal Blog
WUN Annual Conference and AGM paves a path to greater global policy teamwork
Conference and AGM round-up
WUN thanks outgoing Executive Director John Hearn for nine years of service
Professor John Hearn concludes his work as WUN’s Executive Director on 31 July 2018
WUN announces its new Executive Director
Professor Peter Lennie will be the network’s new Executive Director, commencing in August.
CUHK Launched Joint Research Centre with University of Exeter
CUHK and one of the University of Exeter launched a new HK$20m joint research centre to embark on large, impactful interdisciplinary collaborations to tackle emerging issues related to a changing environment and human health and well being.
Migration Data for Policy Summer School
Monday 9 – Thursday 12 July 2018, Bristol Marriott Hotel
New book examines the experiences of first in family students on four continents
A unique book that captures the diverse experiences of first generation higher education students and explores ways universities might better serve them was launched on May 24 at the WUN AGM.
Migration Data for Policy Summer School hosted by the University of Bristol and the IOM’s GMDAC
Details of the Migration Data for Policy Summer School hosted by the University of Bristol and the IOM’s GMDAC
New book broaches live issues for African development agendas
A new book by WUN’s Global Africa Group (GAG) is on track for publication by Springer in early 2019. It will also feature at GAG’s public forum during the WUN Annual Conference in Perth in May.
Students bring the world to us
Op-ed from UWA VC Professor Dawn Freshwater on international engagement.
New vice-chancellor at the University of Cape Town
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, currently the deputy vice-chancellor for research and internationalisation at the University of Cape Town (UCT), has been appointed by Council as the new vice-chancellor of the university with effect from 1 July 2018.
WUN Global Policy Research Group launched at Renmin University of China
The Worldwide Universities Network Global Policy Research Group (WUN GPRG) was launched (stage 1) at Renmin University of China (RUC) on 24 March 2018 during the RUC-WUN Think Tank Conference.
inFlame continues its mission of personal, public and planetary health as inVIVO Planetary Health
International Inflammation Network announces name change
Eight WUN-Universities in THE Top 60 of most international institutions worldwide
WUN-Universities are high in the ranking with no less than eight members in the Top 60. This score illustrates the fact that WUN members are committed to an international outlook in their research and in increasing the mobility of their staff and students.
New £9m programme to transform food systems in Africa
GCRF-AFRICAP project has been launched in Pretoria.
WUN-University of Bergen commits to 2030 carbon-neutral target
WUN member, The University of Bergen (UiB), will be climate-neutral by 2030 thanks to a commitment to sustainability announced at the first SDG Conference Bergen held in February 2018.
Leeds among the world’s top 50 most international universities
University of Leeds one of the most international universities in the world.
Strengthening health priority in Ethiopia with funding from Gates Foundation
A grant of 3 million US dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is enabling the University of Bergen professor Ole Frithjof Norheim and his research group to teach health priorities to Ethiopian students.
Sheffield welcomes applications for Visiting International Fellowship Scheme
The fellowship will be offered for visits between 4 and 6 weeks per year and applicants may request funding for up to £2,500.
Call for applications for the UFMG Summer School on Brazilian Studies 2018 is open
The program comprises lectures on various Brazilian-related topics, Portuguese classes and cultural activities. The Summer School will take place at UFMG main campus in Belo Horizonte and all activities will be conducted in English.
Communicating Good Health and Wellbeing: Promotion, Advocacy, Resilience
Call for Papers:
We invite you to submit proposals for presentations (research, policy, advocacy, best practice and related areas) on the above. We are particularly interested in topics related to:
- The growth of anti-expert, anti-vaccination, and anti-health messages, groups and discourses
- Critical understandings of transactional approaches to health and mental health
- The relationship between health promotion, wellbeing, resilience (critically understood)
- Best practices in health promotion and advocacy
- Related topics in medical humanities, health sociology, health communication, mental health advocacy, strategic communication, critical approaches to bodies, care and wellbeing.
To submit: please email a proposal to ComHealth2018@gmail.com, with the following information:
(i) title, (ii) 250-word abstract, (iii) full name and affiliation(s), (iv) email address.
Proposals due: Friday 30 March 2018
Notification: Friday 13 April 2018
Event: 28-29 May, held at UWA Crawley Campus, Perth, WA.
Update: WUN International Search for Executive Director
Closing date 28 February 2018
Using digital technology to preserve Holocaust memory and places
Digital technologies enable the creation of personal connection with Holocaust survivors.
Renmin University of China (RUC) – the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Think Tank Conference
On 24th March 2018, the RUC-WUN Think Tank Summit will be held on the campus of Renmin University. Springtime Beijing and Renmin University of China welcome experts and colleagues from WUN partner universities.
Bergen launches new sustainable ocean research centre
The University of Bergen has created a new Centre for Sustainable Global Ocean Governance and Research to make research and science diplomacy a key part of Norway’s contribution towards a sustainable ocean,
ECR Scholarship Opportunity for participation in WUN Public Health Workshop Perth WA May 2018
Scholarship Opportunity for early career researchers to participate in WUN academic workshop Promoting Adaptability across the Life Course held in Perth on 21-22 May 2018.
SDSN Hong Kong Launched at CUHK
CUHK and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust join hands to co-host the Hong Kong chapter of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
WUN Season’s Greetings
WUN New Year Newsletter available online
IOM launches Migration Data Portal
First stage of ongoing progress to develop a “one-stop-shop” for international data
WUN Research Development Fund 2017 Results
The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is pleased to announce the results of the 2017 round of the annual Research Development Fund, marking a direct investment in international, interdisciplinary research collaboration among WUN member universities of over £130,000.
WUN welcomes new member University College Dublin
WUN welcomes UCD, one of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities, currently ranked within the top 1% of institutions world-wide and home to over 33.000 students drawn from over 120 countries.
WUN Global Africa Group secures Springer book contract
WUN Global Africa Group held an author workshop at the University of Cape Town on 2 December 2017, for their collaborative book project Africa and the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes some 53 contributing WUN co-authors. The book will be published early 2019 by Springer.
Professor Dame Jane Francis – New Chancellor of the University of Leeds
Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Professor Dame Jane Francis, has been announced as the new Chancellor of the University of Leeds.
CUHK Develops First English-taught Chinese Medicine MOOC
A team from the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK has developed a Chinese medicine MOOC in English and Asia’s first Chinese medicine clinical evidence online portal which gathers studies from around the world.
CUHK Launches the World’s First Child Heritage Chinese Language Corpus
CUHK announces the launch of the world’s first Child Heritage Chinese Language Corpus and the establishment of the University of Cambridge–CUHK Joint Laboratory for Bilingualism.
WUN researcher to address International Forum on Migration Data Statistics
WUN researcher to address International Forum on Migration Data Statistics in Paris
SDG Conference Bergen Knowledge for Our Common Future
WUN member The University of Bergen is organising a major conference on the role of Norwegian universities in relation to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
CUHK Establishes Joint Lab with ETH Zurich and DGIST
The CUHK-DGIST-ETH Zurich Joint Research Laboratory on Innovative Nanotechnology for Medicine and Healthcare was recently formed to promote the R&D of innovative technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases.
WUN members Maastricht and York join forces in major partnership
WUN members Maastricht and York have agreed a major partnership in which they will establish joint research projects, teaching collaborations, knowledge exchange, student exchanges and sharing best practice among their staff.
International monitoring of SDG implementation and progress
The UNESCO Institute of Statistics
Impacts of climate change and ozone air pollution on crop production
Major findings WUN Responding to Climate Change research group published in science journal Atmospheric Environment.
WUN Conference and AGM 2018
The next WUN Conference & AGM will be held in Perth, Australia from 20 to 25 May 2018.
Research in Focus: The art of resilience
Helping adolescents and the people who work with them adapt positively to adversity is the aim of this ambitious collaboration between researchers in South Africa, the UK & China.
Research in Focus: Healthy ageing for all
How life-course research can help more of us stay healthy as we age
Submit your abstracts for inFLAME 2018
Early Career Researcher travel grant opportunity to attend the International Inflammation Network (inFLAME) annual meeting in Canmore, Canada, 4-6 April 2018
Livestock Sustainability and Global Challenges Workshop
Bristol to host major international workshop on livestock and SDGs
Bergen researcher awarded for Snapchat Research Stories
Professor Jill Walker Rettberg studies how humans use technology and what it means to us as a culture.
WUN welcomes new member Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
WUN welcomes its 22nd member, UFMG, one of the leading institutions of higher education in Brazil.
The DREAMS Network workshop
WUN Project the DREAMS Network organised second workshop.
WUN welcomes new member Tecnológico de Monterrey
WUN expands its global network to Latin America.
CUHK Appoints New Vice-Chancellor and President
Prof. Rocky S. Tuan, an eminent biomedical scientist from the University of Pittsburgh, will become the eighth Vice-Chancellor of CUHK effective 1 January 2018, succeeding Prof. Joseph Sung.
Research strengths secure global challenge funding
Two research projects led by the University of Leeds have been awarded £16million to build resilience in African businesses and communities.
Research Development Fund 2017 Round is open
The Research Development Fund 2017 Round is open.
Developing a Role for the Arts
There’s increasing recognition within science, engineering and medicine that arts and humanities involvement in development projects is essential,
CUHK to Host ACU Summer School 2018
CUHK has been selected to play host to the next Association of Commonwealth Universities Summer School on 1-9 July 2018.
WUN Global Africa Group Inaugural Strategic Workshop
The World Universities Network Global Africa Group launched its inaugural Strategic Research Workshop, hosted by the University of Ghana, in July 2017.
CUHK Legumes Symposium Facilitates Collaboration between Young and Senior Researchers
The WUN Symposium cum Research Summit on Impacts of Grain Legume Research and Development in Developing Countries held at CUHK on 8-17 June 2017 brought together over 100 participants from six continents to exchange knowledge and ideas on the development of legumes research.
Space For Development
Eight countries across Sub-Saharan Africa are set to take part in the world’s largest ever radio astronomy initiative – and the University of Leeds is spearheading a project aimed at ensuring they can make the most of this opportunity.
WUN Conference and AGM 2017
This year’s AGM provided a key opportunity for all stakeholders to form a fit-for-purpose strategic plan to carry WUN into the next decade.
University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor’s message on values, free speech and silencing
5 May 2017 Dear colleagues and studentsVC Desk: UCT values, free speech and silencing It feels to many of us that in the last year, the space for free speech
CUHK and the University of Sydney Join Hands to Advance Integrative Medicine Research
CUHK and the University of Sydney established a joint laboratory to share the best of information technology, data analysis, and clinical research for the advancement of evidence-based integrative medicine.
UCT calls on all to commit to finding solutions to the current situation in South Africa
A statement from the Senior Leadership Group of the University of Cape Town.
Drilling down into the mysteries of the world’s highest glacier
Climate change scientists are heading to the Himalayas in a bid to become the first to successfully drill through the world’s highest glacier. An international research team will spend up
CUHK-Southampton Joint Laboratory for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Formed
CUHK and the University of Southampton formed a joint laboratory to conduct high impact research in the areas of stem cells, developmental biology and regenerative medicine.
Brexit: a chance for universities to leave their ivory towers behind
Professor Dr Martin Paul reflects on the consequences of Brexit for higher education.
Spreading the cost to transform sanitation
Developing countries struggling to cope with huge volumes of human waste may finally get some relief – and a new business opportunity.
CUHK Launches New AoE Centre on Plant-Environment Interaction
The Chinese University of Hong Kong has been awarded some HK$8m from the Hong Kong University Grants Committee to lead the AoE Centre for Genomic Studies on Plant-Environment Interaction for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security from 2017 to 2025. The new AoE Centre will develop new plant and agricultural technology with a view to striking a better balance between sustainable agriculture and food security.
How WUN builds bridges over BREXIT
Objectives, discussion and outcomes of the WUN “Bridges over BREXIT” Workshop, attended by 40 invited experts from universities, government, business, agencies and media.
‘I feel truly ashamed.’ Keith Burnett on Theresa May’s trade mission to India
Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister.
Research in Focus: in-FLAME
Research in Focus: in-FLAME
Novel Glucose-Responsive Hydrogels for Glucose Detection
WUN supported research group has introduced novel Glucose-Responsive Hydrogels for Glucose Detection.
CUHK Develops First Local Platform for Urban Big Data Integration & Analysis
The Institute of Future Cities at CUHK has developed the first platform in Hong Kong for integrating and analysing urban big data in an effort to help Hong Kong to become a smart city in the areas of personalized health monitoring, urban planning, air quality, and social care.
2016 Research Development Fund
WUN announces the results of the 2016 Research Development Fund round.
WUN welcomes new member the University of Nairobi
WUN is delighted to announce that the University of Nairobi (UoN) has joined the Worldwide Universities Network. We welcome Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mbithi and his colleagues to the WUN Board, research teams and programs. The Worldwide Universities Network looks forward to a valuable and productive partnership.
COP22 WUN panel explains tie between climate resiliency and natural disasters
“Loss and damage in the Paris Agreement context is about much more than just environmental damage. It is a matter of losing a community’s dignity for many”, said Prof Petra Tschakert during a COP22 side event hosted by the Worldwide University Network.
Hidden Migration Symposium in Bristol, 9-10 March 2017
International symposium involving MDGT group to be held in Bristol in March 2017.
A science of loss
Opinion & comment The following article, relevant to policy in climate change, was written by WUN researchers Jon Barnett and Petra Tschakert and two others, and appeared in Nature Climate Change
WUN welcomes new member National Cheng Kung University
We are delighted to announce that National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) has joined the Worldwide Universities Network.
New study on asthma provides strong argument for focusing on the environment of young men
“It has been very difficult to get these [results] published, because the concept of adolescent boys, having impact on their offspring born years later is new and editors could not believe our findings. I think that the WUN can inspire further research to support our findings and convey the new concepts to public health policy makers…”
WUN project adresses migrants’ lack of labour and social rights
Migration governance continues to fail in several key areas such as labour rights, employment opportunities and social protection.
China OPERA Workshop premieres in Chongqing
On 12 November 2016
CUHK Invents Asymmetric Supercapacitors and New Flow Batteries
CUHK engineers have invented the most efficient asymmetric supercapacitors and the flow batteries with the highest volumetric capacity reported to date.
NERC grant for Himalayan Climate Change project
Congratulations to the WUN international team that has achieved this highly competitive support.
CUHK Ranked Top Innovative University in Hong Kong
CUHK was ranked the most innovative university in Hong Kong and 21st in the Asia-Pacific region by the latest “Reuters Top 75: Asia’s Most Innovative Universities”.
WUN welcomes new member Renmin University of China
We are delighted to announce that Renmin University has joined the Worldwide Universities Network.
Food security needs social-science input
The Climate- Resilient Open Partnership for Food Security project (CROP-FS) published in Nature magazine.
WUN Legumes Group publishes in Nature Plants
Multi-disciplinary team from the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) publishes in Nature Plants.
CUHK Conducts World’s Largest Study on Epidemiology of NAFLD in Diabetic Patients
CUHK has conducted the world’s largest study that examines the prevalence and progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in diabetic patients, in order to determine whether screening should be recommended.
WUN facilitates closer cooperation between University of Bristol and Chinese University of Hong Kong
A delegation of senior academics from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) led by Professor Steven Ngai (Departmental Chairperson) from the Department of Social Work, made an important visit
CUHK Recommends Best Practices and Strategies for Low-carbon Urban Transport System
The Institute of Future Cities at CUHK has conducted a comprehensive research on low-carbon transport practices and policies with the objective of formulating a strategy for Hong Kong’s future low-carbon transport system initiatives.
CUHK to Chair the Worldwide Universities Network
Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, recently took the helm of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) as Chair of its Partnership Board, a role elected from among the presidents of member universities.
Global innovation networks: The anatomy of change
Higher education and research are no longer privileged pursuits pursued by high priests in isolated ivory towers. That history and stereotype, itself only partly true, has given way to the increasing catalysis of change. The change is fuelled by rapid development and competition, and by a concert of factors and global dynamics affecting the international research universities that are the subject of this discussion.
A Triumvirate from Three Continents: CUHK partners with University of Toronto and Utrecht University
CUHK forms tri-continental partnership with the University of Toronto and Utrecht University for innovative solutions on urban issues
Dinosaur families chose to exit Europe
Researchers have used ‘network theory’ for the first time to visually depict the movement of dinosaurs around the world during the Mesozoic Era – including a curious exodus from Europe. The research, led by the University of Leeds and published in the Journal of Biogeography, also reaffirms previous studies that have found that dinosaurs continued to migrate to all parts of the world after the ‘supercontinent’ Pangaea split into land masses that are separated by oceans.
Animals’ role in mitigating climate change varies across forests
Large animals play a key role in mitigating climate change in tropical forests by spreading the seeds of large trees that have a high capacity to store carbon, new research has found. The research, co-led by the University of Leeds and published in the journal Nature Communications, sheds important new light on the role seed dispersal by animals plays in mitigating climate change, and how this role can vary in tropical forests across the world.
UWA Professor named FAO Special Ambassador for Pulses
Bridging Policy and Academia at the Sixth Annual Presidents Forum
On 7 April, WUN Presidents, as well as distinguished representatives from the European Parliament, European Commission, European Research Council and national embassies, convened in Brussels for the sixth annual WUN Presidents Forum. Titled ‘Open Doors: European Opportunities in Research & Education,’ the Forum took place alongside the WUN Conference and AGM 2016.
WUN Conference & AGM 2016 Takes Place at Maastricht University
From 2-7 April, close to 400 academics and university leaders from around the world participated in the WUN Conference & AGM 2016, hosted by Maastricht University.
Surprise hit at WUN congress: international classroom
A top-class conference, one might say: four hundred academics from all corners of the world, spending a week debating subjects of interest for the whole world. Migration of course, but also health care, climate change and emerging economies.
Maastricht University Ranked as World’s Fourth Best Young University
Maastricht University (UM) has climbed to the fourth place in the Times Higher Education (THE) 150 Under 50 ranking for best young universities in the world. After maintaining the sixth place since 2013 in the former THE 100 under 50, this fourth place can be considered as a compliment and congratulations in Maastricht Universities 40th anniversary year. The list has been published at the Young Universities Summit in Barcelona on April 6th.
The Sixth Annual WUN Presidents Forum to Convene in Brussels
On 7 April, WUN Presidents, as well as distinguished representatives from the European Parliament, European Commission and European Research Council, will convene in Brussels for the sixth annual Presidents Forum.
Unravelling the secret of antibiotic resistance
Scientists from the University of Leeds have solved a 25-year-old question about how a family of proteins allow bacteria to resist the effects of certain antibiotics. Proteins of the ABC-F protein family are a major source of antibiotic resistance in ‘superbugs’ such as Staphylococcus aureus, a group of bacteria that includes MRSA. The findings, published in the American Society for Microbiology journal mBio, provide the first direct evidence of how this family of proteins ‘protect’ the bacterial ribosome, the protein makers in cells, from being blocked by antibiotics.
Cutting fuel costs and CO2 emissions
Cars of the future which advise how to drive more safely and economically could bring significant cuts in fuel consumption and emissions. Eco-driving systems offer visual guidance to drivers, usually built in to satellite navigation systems or via smartphone apps. The systems are not yet widely available, but manufacturers are looking at installing them in their next generation of cars.The ecoDriver project, led by the Institute for Transport Studies at Leeds with industry partners including BMW, Daimler, CRF (Fiat-Chrysler) and TomTom Telematics, showed that drivers of cars which had such systems installed saved an average of 4.2% in fuel and CO2 emissions, with an even higher saving of 5.8% on rural roads.
New study finds vitamin D3 improves heart function
A daily dose of vitamin D3 improves heart function in people with chronic heart failure, a five-year University of Leeds research project has found. Dr Klaus Witte, from the School of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, led the study, known as VINDICATE. He said: “This is a significant breakthrough for patients. It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness – known as heart failure. These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients.”
Building Bridges Between China and the World
On 4 April, # international researchers came together at the second WUN China FDI Workshop to examine the progress of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is designed to build knowledge and innovation partnerships and accelerate business development.
WUN Contributes to Global Policy Agenda in Maastricht
On 2-7 April, close to 400 academics and university leaders from around the world will descend on Maastricht for the WUN Conference & AGM 2016, hosted by Maastricht University.
WUN Forms Strategic Alliance with International Organization for Migration (IOM)
On 2 April, the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) and the Global Migration Data Analysis Centre in Berlin of the International Organization for Migration (IOM GMDAC) signed a collaboration agreement at the second WUN Migration Conference in Maastricht.
WUN Global ‘Air Sensors Everywhere’ Campaign Launched
Environmental health science researcher Richard Peltier at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with others around the world, is launching a series of webinars and events for a Do-It-Yourself, citizen science campaign called “Air Sensors Everywhere.” It aims to bring small air pollution sensors to the developed and developing world “to empower people everywhere to use low-cost pollution sensors to reduce pollution-linked disease.”
CUHK Uncovers Structure and Functions of the Rice YchF-type G Protein
Prof. Hon-Ming Lam, Director of the Centre for Soybean Research of the Partner State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and his team have uncovered the structure and functions of the Rice YchF-type G Protein for the first time. The new findings help improve plants’ defense response and stress tolerance, and maintain a higher agricultural productivity under adverse conditions.
New Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) appointment at the University of Leeds
Professor Hai-Sui Yu has been appointed as the University of Leeds’ first Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International).
‘Quantum dots’ light the way for new HIV and Ebola treatment
A research team led by the University of Leeds has observed for the first time how HIV and Ebola viruses attach to cells to spread infection. The findings, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, suggest a new way of treating these viruses: instead of destroying the pathogens, introduce a block on how they interact with cells.
New funding for livestock research centre
A new government and industry-backed £70million livestock innovation centre has been launched, supported by University of Leeds investment. Bringing together the food industry and researchers, the government has awarded £27.7 million to set up Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIELivestock). It aims to transform the productivity of the UK livestock industry by providing a “one-stop-shop” to drive innovation. The University of Leeds investment has been match-funded by government, giving a total of £7m to help develop its specialist pig research facility. Funding from other industry and research institutions makes up the £70 million.
Using old drugs to treat new viruses
A group of drugs already in everyday use to treat psychosis or depression may also be used to defeat deadly and emerging viruses. Researchers from the University of Leeds found that common drugs in everyday use were successful in preventing a particular virus from infecting cells, by blocking the ion channels that regulate potassium levels in those cells.
Urgent need to transform key food producing regions in Africa
Agriculture in parts of sub-Saharan Africa must undergo significant transformation if it is to continue to produce key food crops. A new study, published in Nature Climate Change, shows that maize, beans and bananas are most at risk from climate change. The research is the first to allocate timeframes for changes in policy and practice in order to maintain production levels and avoid placing food security and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers at risk. Study lead author Dr Julian Ramirez-Villegas from the University of Leeds, who is working with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), said: “This study tells where and, crucially, when interventions need to be made to stop climate change destroying vital food supplies in Africa.
“We know what needs to be done and, for the first time, we now have deadlines for taking action.”
Air quality success, but what about the impact of Brexit?
New research celebrates the success of EU air quality policy, at a time when such policies face an uncertain future because of Britain’s European referendum.
The study, led by the University of Leeds, has found that about 80,000 deaths are prevented each year due to the introduction of European Union (EU) policies and new technologies to reduce air pollution. Published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, it is the first study to look into the effectiveness of specific EU policies to reduce air pollution across Europe. It reveals that the policies have led to a 35% reduction of fine particles in the atmosphere over the period 1970 to 2010, which has improved public health across Europe. The good news, however, comes at a time when such policies face an uncertain future in light of a potential Brexit.
Will driverless cars increase reliance on roads?
Researchers warn that driverless vehicles could intensify car use, reducing or even eliminating promised energy savings and environmental benefits. Development of autonomous driving systems has accelerated rapidly since the unveiling of Google’s driverless car in 2012, and energy efficiency due to improved traffic flow has been touted as one of the technology’s key advantages. However, new research by scientists from the University of Leeds, University of Washington and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, says its actual impact may be complicated by how the technology changes our relationship with our cars. The research, published in the journal Transportation Research Part A, was led by Dr Zia Wadud, Associate Professor in the University of Leeds’ Faculty of Engineering and a research group leader in the University’s Institute for Transport Studies.
Researchers to Look at Effects of Migration Policies
The research community know little about the new types of immigration in the world. A new, international project seeks to find the answers to difficult questions in the migration debate.
Improving rainfall and flooding predictions
The University of Leeds is a partner in a new research project to improve our understanding of rainfall and flood predictions in Scotland. Scientists from the University will work alongside the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), Scottish Water and the Met Office. The Radar Applications in Northern Scotland (RAINS) project will involve the deployment of NCAS’ Mobile X-band Radar to Kinloss, Scotland, from January to July 2016, to observe clouds and measure rainfall. The observations from the NCAS radar will be used alongside the existing Met Office radar network to study precipitation and flooding. This will be the first in-depth study of clouds, precipitation and how they link to flooding in Scotland. The NCAS radar is capable of measuring clouds and precipitation in remote locations and is the only one of its kind in the United Kingdom.
Finding the best treatment for bowel cancer patients
A new test could help patients with advanced bowel cancer get the best treatment for their disease. A Cancer Research UK clinical trial, run from the University of Leeds and St James’s University Hospital, studied almost 1,200 patients at hospitals all over the UK with advanced bowel cancer.
Researchers to use supercomputer to ‘hack’ Ebola
Scientists at the University of Leeds will run the equivalent of password cracking software to find the chemical keys to defeating the Ebola virus. A team from the University’s schools of Chemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology have secured a £200,000 grant from the Wellcome Trust to find drugs to cure the disease. Although several Ebola vaccines are being developed, there are currently no effective anti-viral drugs to treat people once they get infected. This is a particularly serious issues because of barriers to implementing vaccine programmes in the most at-risk communities and the difficulty of predicting where the disease will strike next. The University of Leeds researchers will focus on finding anti-viral drugs.
Breast cancer survivors could be vulnerable to common illnesses
Breast cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy could be vulnerable to common illnesses because of the long-term impact on the body’s immune response, according to new research findings. Chemotherapy is used to treat 30% of breast cancer patients and whilst previous studies have investigated its effects on immune systems during the therapy itself – and up to a short period after the last treatment – little is known about the long-term impact on immunity. Researchers from University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust measured the levels of lymphocytes, a group of white blood cells involved in the body’s immune response, together with antibodies. They found that chemotherapy reduced levels of some immune system components for at least nine months after treatment.
Digital design to boost pharmaceutical industry
University of Leeds researchers are part of a project to transform the UK’s pharmaceutical industry by introducing new digital design processes. The £20.4 million ADDoPT (Advanced Digital Design of Pharmaceutical Therapeutics) project is a major four-year collaboration between the Government, industry and universities. It is expected to reduce the development time and cost of innovative medicines and improve the competitiveness of the UK’s pharmaceuticals sector.
‘Big Data’ generates need for ‘Data Diplomacy’
“Data Diplomacy” seeks to better understand the role that data sharing plays as an agent in social and political relationships around the world. Examples of data diplomacy can include: negotiations between two competing health systems to enable access to electronic medical records of shared patients; cross-national sharing of outbreak data, such as ownership of and access to information about people impacted by Ebola virus; or the impact on diplomatic relationships among nations due to systematic “leakages” of data, evidenced by the Edward Snowden case.
Leeds researchers conduct new training programme in Africa
A team of researchers led by the University of Leeds is conducting a new and innovative training programme in Africa. The Development in Africa with Radio Astronomy (DARA) project, led by Professor Melvin Hoare, seeks to provide people in the targeted countries with training to use radio telescopes. It also has an outreach programme to encourage young people to study the technological aspects of radio astronomy and pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. The project is funded by the Newton Fund – a novel initiative that aims to promote the economic development and social welfare of developing countries through scientific collaboration.
A kink in the fault line explains why the Himalayas keep growing
An international team of scientists has shed new light on the earthquake that devastated Nepal in April 2015, killing more than 8,000 people. In a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the scientists show that a kink in the regional fault line below Nepal explains why the highest mountains in the Himalayas are seen to grow between earthquakes. The researchers, from the UK’s Centre for the Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET), as well as academics from the USA and France, also demonstrate that the rupture on the fault stopped 11km below Kathmandu.
Study on Novel Glucose-Responsive Materials for GOX-Free Glucose Sensors
The researchers of the joint team from Zhejiang University, University of Leeds and University of York are currently exploring novel glucose-responsive materials for GOX-free glucose sensors which will be more sensitive and stable.
CUHK Launches Global China Research Program
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) recently launched the Global China Research Program with the goal of understanding China’s global presence and international relations, as well as the global reception of China’s outward engagements.
Many colorectal cancer survivors struggle to cope with daily life
Around 7,000 colorectal cancer survivors in the UK struggle to cope with daily life years after their diagnosis, according to new analysis led by University of Leeds researchers. The study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and partly funded by Macmillan Cancer Support, shows that just under 1 in 6 (15%) people who survive a year to three years after a colorectal cancer diagnosis in England experience ‘social distress’, perceiving their daily social interactions to be severely negative or distressing.
A fighting chance of survival: life-saving stents for heart attacks
A study of 300,000 heart attack patients, led by the University of Leeds, has found rapid rates in the uptake of a treatment which improves a patient’s chances of survival after a major heart attack. The research, part-funded by the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute of Health Research, showed the uptake of heart attack treatment gives nine in ten patients fighting chance of survival. The use of emergency stenting treatment (PPCI) increased from 0.1% in 2003 to 86% in 2013 for patients with STEMI – a heart attack caused by a complete blockage of a coronary artery which accounts for 25-40% of all heart attack cases in Europe.
Parasitic worms: friends or foes?
Meet the UCT researcher discovering how parasitic worms can benefit human health.
WUN Sustainability Grant for Global Platform
The WUN Sustainability Grant realizes the potential of the Global Farm Platform by facilitating the exchange of ideas and by supporting two international funding bid writing workshops to draft proposals
Researchers uncover the key to the rise of the animal kingdom
A new study may have resolved a fundamental question concerning the development of Earth as a planet on which animals could flourish: what came first, increasing levels of oxygen or complex animals? Before now it was not known how quickly Earth’s oceans and atmosphere became oxygenated and if animal life expanded before or after oxygen levels rose. The new study, published in Nature Communications, shows the increase in oxygenation began significantly earlier than previously thought and occurred in fits and starts spread over a vast period.
Controlling the ‘social life’ of proteins aims to transform drug discovery
A new £3.4 million programme will develop new tools to understand which interactions between proteins in the human body are relevant to disease. Currently, only a handful of drugs in clinical use work by targeting protein-protein interactions. The new project, which will launch on 1 February, 2016, will involve researchers from the University of Leeds, the University of Bristol and three drug discovery organisations: the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University; AstraZeneca; and Domainex.
Antibiotic resistance could help find drugs for some of the most intractable diseases
Scientists have developed an innovative way of using one of the biggest problems facing health services—antibiotic resistance—to develop drugs to combat some of the most intractable diseases. The new study, from research led by Professor Sheena Radford from the University of Leeds and published in Nature Chemical Biology, outlines a way of using antibiotic resistance to find chemicals capable of stopping amyloid formation.
Groundbreaking microscopy unlocks secrets of plant virus assembly
New research into how a plant virus assembles could lay the groundwork for future use to carry drugs into the human body. The study, by a team from the University of Leeds’ Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology and the John Innes Centre in Norwich, describes the structure of an empty version of Cowpea Mosaic Virus (CPMV) and the molecular “glue” that allows the virus to build itself and encapsulate its genome. The findings, published in the journal Nature Communications and based on revolutionary new electron microscopy, may be a crucial step to eventually allowing scientists to build custom versions of the virus that can carry medicines into the body and target disease.
Moving Toward a Sustainable Future Following COP21
After many years of failed attempts, world leaders have finally signed a comprehensive deal to address climate change at COP21 in Paris. WUN was there.
WUN investing in research that matters
The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) announced today the results of the 2015 round of the annual Research Development Fund, marking a direct investment in international, interdisciplinary research of £156,213.
Millions in funding for young Bergen researchers
Four young scientists recently received over 80 million NOK from Bergen Research Foundation and the University of Bergen, making world class research possible.
Legumes: the Solution to Human Health and Agricultural Sustainability
As the world’s population continues to grow and the effects of global warming and climate change begin to affect crop yields, new and existing crops must be developed that are resilient to temperature extremes, drought and salinity, while also being cheap to produce. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, himself, noted the scale of the problem saying “diversification of crops with legumes and other practical measures must be scaled up to end hunger while meeting the challenge of climate change”.
Proactive in Paris: Researchers head to Paris for crucial climate change talks
Scientists and world leaders are convening in Paris to tackle climate change, and the University of Leeds is well represented at the talks, offering a wealth of expertise in climate change science. Students and alumni of the University of Leeds have also created a short documentary film about the path to Paris and why this COP should be different to previous years, which failed to reach an agreement on how to address climate change. The film, called Atmosphere, is directed by postgraduate student Nick Roxburgh from the University’s School of Earth and Environment and is the result of a successful crowd-funding campaign.
Peatland Code could significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions
A new Government-backed code has been launched that could slash UK carbon dioxide emissions by 220 million tonnes and protect rare wildlife by restoring moors, bogs and mires. The Peatland Code is unveiled at the World Forum for Natural Capital in Edinburgh on 23 November following a successful two-year trial, which has seen businesses fund peatland restoration projects in southwest England, the Lake District and Wales. The Code is based on research by academics at the University of Leeds and Birmingham City University, which revealed that sustainable business investment could reverse the degradation of peatlands and significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Drawing a ‘curtain of fire’ on dinosaur extinction theory?
Earth’s early history is likely to have been much less severe than previously thought, according to a study led by the University of Leeds. Asteroid impacts and long-lasting volcanic eruptions called continental flood basalts – the two most commonly cited possible causes of mass extinction events – would have propelled gas and dust into the atmosphere and altered climate for years. But, until now, the impact of years of sulphur dioxide emissions from continental flood basalts was unknown. In a study published online on 23 November in Nature Geoscience, researchers have provided for the first time a quantitative estimate of the degree and nature of the effects that such eruptions had on the Earth’s climate, vegetation and oceans.
Talking Climate Change – WUN on the world stage at UNFCCC COP21
The world will gather in Paris in early December for the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to develop solutions to climate change and WUN will join them as an official observer organisation.
Half of all Amazonian tree species may be globally threatened
More than half of all tree species in the world’s most diverse forest – the Amazon – may be globally threatened, according to a new study. But the study, published on Friday 20 November, in the journal Science Advances, also suggests that Amazonian parks, reserves and indigenous territories will protect most of the threatened species, if properly managed. The findings were announced by a research team comprising 158 researchers from 21 countries, led by Dr Hans ter Steege of Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands and Dr Nigel Pitman of the Field Museum in Chicago, USA. The pan-Amazon RAINFOR network led by the University of Leeds contributed hundreds of forest monitoring plots to the effort
Unpaid carers save UK £132 biilion a year – the cost of a second NHS
A new report jointly written by University of Leeds experts reveals that the 6.8 million people who provide unpaid care for loved ones in the UK save the state £132 billion a year. The report for the charity Carers UK, Valuing Carers 2015 – the rising value of carers’ support, is the third in a series looking at the value of carers’ support to the UK economy. It shows a staggering increase in the value of carers’ support since 2001, almost doubling from £68 billion to £132 billion. Researchers attribute this rise to a dramatic increase in the number of hours people are caring for, combined with an increase in the cost of replacement care.
Inaugural Web Observatories Workshop Takes Place in Southampton
Much like the printing press, the invention of the world wide web has afforded us unprecedented opportunities for spreading information. Not only do we now have the capacity to share rich data sets online, we also have vast amounts of data about our online activity. However, without a proper framework in place, it is difficult to take full advantage of this rich information resource. There are currently multiple barriers to using this resource effectively, including accessibility of datasets, lack of comprehensive and shareable metadata, dataset identification and searching, access control and privileges, and analytics.
Increased deforestation and the Amazon basin rainfall
Researchers report that continued deforestation of the Amazon rainforest could diminish rainfall levels in the Amazon River basin, which may impact the region’s climate, ecosystems and economies.
A new study, published on Thursday 12 November in Geophysical Research Letters, predicts that by the middle of the century annual rainfall in the Amazon could be less than the yearly amount of rain the region receives during drought years if deforestation rates revert back to pre-2004 levels.
20 Benefits of Collaboration You Cannot Afford to Ignore
The Worldwide Universities Network aims to foster international research collaborations to address global challenges. WUN is in a joint venture with Global Academy Jobs (GAJobs) that links researchers with top research universities to enhance career prospects. The article below was recently featured on the GAJobs blog. Scott Wavers writes about how to invest your time wisely as a researcher and how to collaborate well. In his blog post he outlines the top 20 benefits of collaboration for a researcher.
Understanding Globalisation: Margins and Peripheries
The local and the global have become entangled in rural and peri-urban areas, not only in South Africa, but around the world. And understanding these entanglements is the aim of the the WUN-sponsored project Understanding Globalisation – Margins and Peripheries. This project, led by Associate Professor Ana Deumert, seeks to study globalisation in the so-called margins of the world system: areas never before considered to be heavily affected by globalisation, but which are increasingly shaped by larger social and cultural processes.
New £20 million research programme to deepen understanding of Africa’s changing climate
A UK government-funded initiative will put £20 million behind research to better understand Africa’s changing climate and the use of climate change information in decision-making across the continent. Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) is supporting five major research projects to develop better climate information for Africa and to test how the new information could be used in decision-making. Dr John Marsham from the University of Leeds is leading the HyCRISTAL project, which addresses East Africa, while fellow researchers from the University’s School of Earth and Environment are taking key roles in the projects addressing West Africa (AMMA2050), southern Africa (UMFULA) and modelling African climate (IMPALA). FCFA is a joint programme of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Natural Environment Research Council.
‘One size fits all’ when it comes to unravelling how stars form
Observations led by astronomers at the University of Leeds have shown for the first time that a massive star, 25 times the mass of the Sun, is forming in a similar way to low-mass stars. The discovery, made using a new state-of-the-art telescope called the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which is based in Chile, South America, was published online on 29 October by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Climate research a highlight in new NERC funding
The University of Leeds has been awarded £3 million by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to shed light on why the climate is warming at an uneven rate with pronounced pauses and surges. The project, which will be led by Professor Piers Forster from the School of Earth and Environment, is funded via NERC’s new ‘highlight topics’ – one of the research council’s new ways of funding strategic research.
Leeds to be leading centre for precision medicine
The Leeds Academic Health Partnership (LAHP) has been involved in an initiative to bring a centre of excellence in precision medicine to the city, the government has announced. Precision medicine uses diagnostic tests and data-based insights to understand a patient’s disease more precisely and so select treatments with more predictable, safer, cost-effective outcomes. The UK’s research and clinical expertise, combined with government’s major investment in relevant research infrastructure, has placed it in a leading position in this area. The Leeds centre, which will run alongside other similar centres in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester and Oxford, was compiled by the LAHP, a consortium that brings together ten statutory organisations in Leeds — the city’s six NHS organisations, its three universities and Leeds City Council – into a formal partnership.
Reducing the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is investing £1.4 million in the University of Leeds to help counteract the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes. The new funding, announced on Friday 23 October, is part of the BHF’s new research strategy which commits to spending over half a billion pounds on research in the next five years. Professor Mark Kearney, from the School of Medicine, is leading a team looking at ways to help protect people with diabetes from an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
How can we build wildlife-friendly roads and railways?
Scientists behind new research into the effects of transport infrastructure on biodiversity have developed much-needed approaches to protect wildlife. A Defra-funded study, conducted by a team from the University of Leeds led by Professor John Altringham, sets out best practice principles for assessing the impact of new roads and railways on bats, as well as the effectiveness of mitigation measures installed to help them cross safely. These new survey methods should improve the efficiency of planning processes, thereby benefitting both developers and wildlife. The researchers’ report also highlights the need for a more rigorous, evidence-based approach to protecting wildlife during development.
Dreaming of a good night’s sleep
New research from the University of Leeds has revealed that some people are losing more than 15 day’s worth of sleep a year. The study showed that more than a quarter of the British population suffer from dangerously low levels of sleep – with many sleeping as little as five hours per night – and that it could harm their health. Despite aiming to undertake around eight – nine hours sleep a night, 30 to 50 year-olds were the most likely group for being in debt to their sleep body clocks.
Is the end in sight for reading glasses?
Learning the right lesson from Mendel’s peas
Biologists arguing about whether the results of experiments by the man hailed as the father of modern genetics are “too good to be true” have been distracted from a more important debate. In a new paper in Science about Gregor Mendel, the 19th century Austrian monk whose experiments on peas revealed the basic principles of heredity, University of Leeds science historian Professor Gregory Radick suggests the time has come for a different perspective on the controversy, which over the years has encompassed allegations of fraud and Cold War political pressure.
Leeds wins £4.2m funding to develop robot fixers of the future
The University of Leeds is leading a pioneering £4.2m national infrastructure research project with the vision of creating self-repairing cities. The project will develop small robots to identify problems with utility pipes, street lights and roads and fix them with minimal environmental impact and disruption to the public.The project is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and was announced on Friday 16 October by the Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson. The team also includes researchers from some of the UK’s other top universities including Birmingham, Southampton and UCL, with Nottingham, Sheffield, Oxford and Imperial as supporting partners.
Supercoiled DNA is far more dynamic than the “Watson-Crick” double helix
Researchers have imaged in unprecedented detail the three-dimensional structure of supercoiled DNA, revealing that its shape is much more dynamic than the well-known double helix. Various DNA shapes, including figure-8s, were imaged using a powerful microscopy technique by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in the US, and then examined using supercomputer simulations run at the University of Leeds. As reported online on 12 October in the journal Nature Communications, the simulations also show the dynamic nature of DNA, which constantly wiggles and morphs into different shapes – a far cry from the commonly held idea of a rigid and static double helix structure.
CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing Holds Launch Conference on ‘Creating Age-Friendly Community’
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Institute of Ageing held a Launch Conference on ‘Creating Age-Friendly Communities’ on 8 October 2015 to enable experience sharing and discussion on various aspects of the theme. Topics covered in the conference included: Redesigning Communities for Aged Society, Frailty and Geriatric Syndromes, and Age-friendly Hospital and Service. The event attracted some 300 renowned academics in gerontology from the U.S., Singapore, Japan, mainland China and Hong Kong, as well as representatives from organizations working on improving seniors well-being and welfare.
Unlocking the secrets of consumer behaviour
The Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) launched its data services on Thursday 1 October, offering new data for researchers to garner unprecedented insights into consumer behaviour. The multi-million pound Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) initiative, commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), is a collaboration between the UK’s leading universities and a growing list of industry partners to better understand the millions of data points we generate each day. Bringing together the universities of Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford and University College London, the CDRC has created a safe and secure data infrastructure which seeks to share these insights with academia, industry and the public at large. Whilst protecting privacy, data will – for the first time – be routinely collected and shared with the CDRC by major retailers, local government organisations and businesses across the UK to improve understanding of these complex patterns of consumer behaviour.
If you’re sitting down, don’t sit still, new research suggests
New research suggests that the movements involved in fidgeting may counteract the adverse health impacts of sitting for long periods. In a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a team of researchers, co-led by the University of Leeds and UCL, report that an increased risk of mortality from sitting for long periods was only found in those who consider themselves very occasional fidgeters. They found no increased risk of mortality from longer sitting times, compared to more active women, in those who considered themselves as moderately or very fidgety.
Swinging on ‘monkey bars’: motor proteins caught in the act
The first images of motor proteins in action were published in the journal Nature Communications on Monday 14 September 2015. These proteins are vital to complex life, forming the transport infrastructure that allows different parts of cells to specialise in particular functions. Until now, the way they move has never been directly observed. Researchers at the University of Leeds and in Japan used electron microscopes to capture images of the largest type of motor protein, called dynein, during the act of stepping along its molecular track.
Icelandic volcano’s toxic gas is treble that of Europe’s industry
A huge volcanic eruption in Iceland emitted on average three times as much of a toxic gas as all European industry combined, a study led by the University of Leeds has revealed. Discharge of lava from the eruption at Bárðarbunga volcano, starting in August 2014, released a huge mass – up to 120,000 tonnes per day – of sulphur dioxide gas. These emissions can cause acid rain and respiratory problems. Researchers hope that their study, published by the Journal of Geophysical Research, will aid understanding of how such eruptions can affect air quality in the UK.
WUN members Sheffield and Zhejiang sign Memorandum of Understanding
A pioneering partnership has been signed between the University of Sheffield and Zhejiang University as part of ongoing commitments to work collaboratively in tackling some of the biggest global issues.
WUN Universities Use MOOCs to Expand Global Reach
The higher education sector is rapidly evolving as a result of new technologies and globalisation. WUN universities continue to innovate, using these new technologies to expand their offerings and global reach. The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is one such technology, allowing students from around the world to access world-class expertise from anywhere at any time. Below are ten free MOOCs, offered by WUN universities through FutureLearn, beginning over the coming months.
New Australian Advisory Group for Australia Africa Relations (AGAAR)
The Foreign Minister of Australia, the Hon Julie Bishop launched the new AGAAR on Friday 4thSeptember. She stated that the group would advise her and the Australian Government on economic diplomacy and development of Australian African mutual interests within Australia’s overall international engagement. These equal partnerships in mid-term programs and a long term framework for cooperation would inform the government and stakeholders with evidence based policy options. The Advisory Group was charged to help develop such a framework. The emphasis would be on sustainable and specific activities, with Australian African characteristics, in key sectoral areas and with key countries. The approach would build teamwork between governments, academic and business, along with NGO’s and international agencies.
WUN announces new Chair of GHEAR Global Challenge
Professor John Hearn, Executive Director of WUN, today announced the appointment of Professor Joe Berger as the new Chair of the Global Higher Education & Research Global Challenge (GHEAR) to take effect from 1 October 2015.
CUHK Researcher Recognized by WMO for Global Food Security Study
Prof. Amos P.K. Tai of the Earth System Science Programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) was recently conferred the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Research Award for Young Scientists for 2015. The award was presented to Prof.Tai for his paper in Nature Climate Change, Volume 4, 2014, titled “Threat to future global food security from climate change and ozone air pollution”. Prof. Tai is the first Hong Kong scientist receiving the Award.
Unravelling the mystery of pain
Patients with chronic whiplash experience long-lasting pain, but doctors and researchers struggle to explain the causes. Solbjørg Makalani Myrtveit wants to help these often misunderstood patients.
International Innovation: Promoting Education and Prevention in Public Health
Professor John Hearn, Executive Director of WUN and Chairman of the Australia-Africa Universities Network, discusses the prolific threats that continue to plague public health and outlines initiatives in place that promote education and prevention.
Ensuring Environmental Livelihood Security
In communities where livelihoods are linked to the land and sea, environmental security is of utmost importance. This is particularly true in the developing nations of the Asia-Pacific, where many localities have a high dependency on fisheries, tourism and agriculture. Moreover, global changes are increasingly resulting in challenging localised impacts, such as increased frequency of extreme events. Thus, understanding the social-environment system is imperative to providing solutions for responding to climate change.
China’s Path in International Relations
Renmin University School of Marxism in Beijing held a high level international conference on “China’s Path in International Relations” at the end of June 2015. The purpose was to explore and develop the scholarly and practical concepts of “One Belt One Road” as articulated by President Xi Jinping. WUN Executive Director, Professor John Hearn, and WUN China Manager, Associate Professor Grace Liu, were among international speakers from Canada, USA, Russia and Europe invited to present papers.
WUN and Zhejiang University Build a Stronger Partnership
WUN Executive Director, Professor John Hearn, and WUN China Manager, Associate Professor Grace Liu, visited WUN member Zhejiang University in June to meet with the new President Professor Zhaohui Wu, reviewing the WUN-Zhejiang Partnership and exploring greater engagement and teamwork. Zhejiang currently ranks in the top three Chinese universities and is a recognised international research leader.
Launch of the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics
A new institute set up to help public and private sector organisations meet the challenges and opportunities of the Big Data revolution opened its doors on Friday 10 July 2015. The Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) offers state-of-the-art facilities in data analytics and will partner with researchers and organisations to help them make the most of the rapidly growing fields of consumer and medical data analysis.
CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing Ranks HK as 24th in the World in terms of Elderly Wellbeing
Based on the methods used to calculate the Global AgeWatch Index which measures the wellbeing of older people in the world, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Jockey Club Institute of Ageing, with support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) Charities Trust, revealed that Hong Kong ranked 24th among 97 countries or territories in 2014.
The mathematics of disease
Medical research and advanced mathematics are usually considered separate disciplines. But for one WUN collaboration, bringing maths and biology together could hold the key to understanding how cells in the human body signal to each other, and might potentially unlock the secrets of a range of non-communicable diseases.
WUN Welcomes New Members to the Partnership Board
In the coming months, WUN will see considerable transition in its Partnership Board, with leading figures that have helped shape WUN over the last ten years moving on from their respective universities. WUN thanks these individuals for their dedicated service and wishes them the best of luck in their future endeavours. We also look forward to welcoming their successors and continuing to build on mutual strengths.
University of Leeds showcases pioneering research for Minister
The new Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson MP, visited world-leading research facilities at the University of Leeds on Monday 15 June 2015. Mr Johnson toured the University’s Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (iMBE), which has pioneered research in joint replacement technologies, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, and the National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems, one of the best equipped robot building labs in the world.
University of Leeds funds £17m structural biology lab
The University of Leeds is investing £17 million in a state-of-the-art laboratory for structural biology research.
Preventing future pandemics
There has been a significant increase in asthma and allergies in high-income countries over the past few decades. These diseases are also increasingly prevalent in developing countries, which can substantially increase mortality rates since proper medication is often expensive. The causes of asthma and allergies are not well understood, and there is currently neither a cure or effective prevention. At the same time, parasitic infections have decreased and have known immunological effects.
WUN a Voice in International Research and Education Reform
Today’s higher education landscape is changing rapidly as a direct result of globalisation and technological advancement. Key issues include access and affordability, public/private collaboration, technology’s impact on research, and the evolving roles of academics, students and administrators in light of increased internationalisation.
WUN Researcher Finds Future Funding Success
As the world’s population continues to rise, so does the increasing demand for water, energy and food. These three resources are inextricably linked and any shortage or disruption of one will significantly impact the other two. This is known as the water-energy-food nexus.
2015 Research Development Fund
WUN is pleased to announce the launch of the 2015 Research Development Fund (RDF). The RDF is an annual competitive grant scheme designed to foster innovative, high quality and sustainable research among member universities.
Global climate on verge of multi-decadal change
A new study, by scientists from the University of Southampton and National Oceanography Centre (NOC), implies that the global climate is on the verge of broad-scale change that could last for a number of decades.
Early-life solutions to the modern health crisis
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as allergies, asthma, cancer, diabetes and obesity are on the rise. Inflammation and immune dysregulation are common features of these conditions, often associated with environmental and lifestyle risk factors such as dietary patterns, environmental pollutants, microbial patterns and stress.
Vice rector of Bergen joins the WUN leadership
Anne Christine Johannessen takes over as chair of the Worldwide Universities Network’s Public Health Global Challenge Steering Group.
WUN Takes Part in New Research, Knowledge and Information Community
Last week, a new Research, Knowledge and Information Community (RKIC) was launched during ACU SARIMA Conference 2015 held in Johannesburg. The community is part of the Association of Commonwealth Universities’ (ACU) series of new special interest groups.