The value of WUN is revealed through its core strengths, which include: trans-national research, tacit knowledge, innovation, global collaborations, education, and the sharing of resources. All of these strengths enable WUN to adapt quickly to changing trends in globalisation and the resulting challenges that require input from higher education networks like WUN. Thus, the network is in a position to transform knowledge and basic research into innovative technology and methodology to improve the quality of life around the world.

Developing a vibrant network collaborating on a diverse range of projects

Currently WUN has over 100 research initiatives in its portfolio. More than 400 research faculty are active in these initiatives with many more taking part in conferences, workshops and virtual seminars. The collaborations enable participants to extend the reach and international scope of their research and establish lasting partnerships that enrich their work. Outputs include joint publications, shared modules on Masters degrees, and a coordinated approach to funding.

Many of our initiatives encourage the participation of postgraduates either through organised activities targeting early stage researchers, through mentoring or by providing postgraduates with tools to enable them to establish their own networks in a virtual environment.

WUN faculty can apply for modest amounts of funding from the WUN Research Development Fund to spark collaborative activities. These funds are supplemented by contributions from members’ own international research development programmes.

Nurturing high impact research communities tackling problems of global importance

In 2009, WUN rolled out its Global Challenge concept. WUN Global Challenges are collections of high quality WUN collaborative research programmes – each involving a number of WUN and other world-leading academic partners in the programme area – which are expected to contribute significantly – in the short or longer term – to addressing the issues of global significance identified in the Challenges.

WUN Global Challenges are also a means of promoting new or existing WUN collaborative research programmes to potential funders, policy makers and the world more generally by emphasising the impact that these programmes will have on issues of concern to them.

Currently, WUN is focussing its resouces on 4 Global Challenges:

Fostering a world leading graduate education programme for the next generation of innovators

WUN has current and archived virtual seminar series on 18 themes. These seminars are available to faculty and postgraduates for use in teaching and research. They give postgraduates and early stage researchers in particular the opportunity to engage with world-leading experts in their fields and to interact with a diverse, international audience.

Through the Research Mobility Programme, postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, as well as junior academics, can develop their careers through experiencing other research cultures across the Network. The RMP gives early stage researchers access to expertise and rare resources or specialist equipment that is not available within their own institutions.

WUN member institutions encourage participation in the RMP either by making funds available specifically for travel and subsistence related to research visits or by integrating RMP into international research programmes.