Global ambitions drive UK institutions

India and China top list of potential partners as universities race to expand, report says

October 27, 2009

A “new era” of internationalism for UK universities has been predicted in a report by the law firm Eversheds.

Research by the firm has identified “a surge in UK higher education institutions exploring overseas partnerships, with India and China topping the table of global targets”.

The UK Universities’ International Ambitions Report found that more than two thirds (71 per cent) of institutions are pursuing more international collaborations. India is the most popular potential partner, being courted by 35 per cent of institutions, followed by China (29 per cent) and Africa (12 per cent).

Glynne Stanfield, a partner at Eversheds, said: “UK institutions need to remain competitive on the world education stage, so joining with overseas bodies is now a key way of enhancing international reputation. Also, while the recession may have led to a spike in interest in international collaborations, we believe this will be maintained through the period of recovery and beyond.”

Some 88 per cent of respondents said that overseas collaboration was a “vital way of advancing the objectives of their institution”, and 76 per cent said they would consider using e-learning technologies to access previously unviable territories. Nearly half (41 per cent) would also consider setting up a campus abroad.

“What is more surprising is the significant percentage of institutions that are interested in setting up an overseas campus – this shows a long-term commitment to having a physical presence in target markets,” Mr Stanfield said.

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