The Cities Partnerships Programme is part of UCL’s triple track European strategy that was devised in response to Brexit.
The initiative aims to extend research and teaching collaborations across multiple locations around Europe to address concerns within the higher education sector about the future of European collaborations post-Brexit. The first two locations involved are Rome and Paris. The programme focuses on a city rather than on a specific partner, therefore enabling UCL academics from any discipline to work with the partners who they think are the best in their field.
Dr Nicola Brewer, UCL Vice-Provost, outlined the need for these international partnerships: “No single country or institution, however prestigious – and UCL is undoubtedly world leading – can tackle the complex global challenges we are all facing alone. We’re on this planet together and we need to find solutions to our problems together. Bringing together the brightest minds, from across the world, accelerates the process of discovery. We mustn’t let Brexit reverse that.”
Last year 95% of UCL’s senior researchers from other EU countries were approached by European institutions to leave their current workplace due to Brexit. This represents nearly a third of UCL’s academics.
As the first Academic Director to take action, Dr Florian Mussing from the School of European Languages, Culture & Society stated: “For those of us who have benefited most from international collaboration and mobility, this is the time to stand up for the future of higher education, and to join the battle to keep British universities in Europe.”
The programme will launch in a new city each year. Applications are currently open to staff members who wish to propose collaborative projects in Rome. The Cities Partnerships Programme will support academic activity involving UCL academics and partners with up to £5,000 per project.
The triple track European strategy was devised with support from the Global Engagement Office. Besides the Cities Partnerships Programme, the other goals include stepping up UCL’s engagement in networks, platforms and policy making, whilst also consolidating existing partnerships.