11/12/2018 Opinion

John Style, Vice-Rector for Internationalization

Closing the gap between the institutional and the personal contacts

So many international institutional contacts are founded upon a personal relationship between two individuals who discovered that they could work well together. Let us take advantage of those contacts to develop the URV’s internationalization strategy.

One of the key issues in the URV’s internationalization strategy is creating and developing new international partnerships with foreign universities and other institutions. Our attendance at international congresses, in Europe, Asia and the USA every year, is one healthy source of these new contacts. Sometimes these initial meetings are planned, being scheduled well in advance of the meeting; other times they are random meetings, where URV and the other institution’s representatives fall into a conversation and discover that they have some particular interest or problem in common, and decide to work on it together.

Another equally important aspect to our internationalization strategy is maintaining and strengthening existing relationships with our international partners. This happens through a large range of mobility programmes for students and staff, both PDI and PAS, and also by being partners in various networks, such as the European SGroup, and worldwide networks such as the INU, which allows URV students to attend international student workshops in Hiroshima, Japan, and in Indonesia on an annual basis. You can find out more information about these wonderful opportunities on the I-Centre website.

There is another essential connection, which is one of the most effective and productive – namely, the personal contacts that URV researchers build up with international colleagues through sharing their scientific investigations. Of course, these contacts can be very productive, both scientifically and personally, in the form of joint publications, teaching and research stays, and the sharing of best practices on research and teaching.

Sometimes the institutional connections can seem divorced from these personal relationships I have just referred to. From the Vicerectorate for Internationalization, we want to investigate ways to allow these personal contacts which already exist to develop into closer institutional relations. If we are able to cooperate successfully on an individual or small group level, why couldn’t we extend this to more areas of cooperation with the same foreign institution? In this line, we plan to develop an informal register of academic contacts with foreign universities (initially through tracking co-publications) so that when an institutional contact is made we can check to see if we already have a contact history with that institution, which can be used to strengthen the bond between the two institutions. We also want to encourage any URV academics visiting their research partners’ institutions to propose ways in which further relationships can be developed, by offering them material to present the URV.

We are also open to any suggestions you might like to make as to how we can close this gap between the institutional and the personal research contacts, so that the URV as a whole can benefit from these special personal contacts that already exist and are often strong.

So many international institutional contacts are founded upon a personal relationship between two individuals who discovered that they could work well together. Let us take advantage of those contacts to develop the URV’s internationalization strategy.


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