Video above: Watch a few of of the best bits from Going Global 2018. 

Since 2004, Going Global has grown from a biennial event in the UK to an annual event alternating between the UK and major international cities. 

The conference consists of a series of collaborative sessions that focus on the year’s chosen themes, and also provides an opportunity for networking, and so has become a fixture of the global education calendar.

Here are some of our conference highlights from over the last three of years: 

Going Global 2017, London

“We do not have to choose between the local, the national, and the global. Nor can we, in a world in which global cooperation is not an option, but a necessity, and where the local and the global are irrevocably intertwined.” Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool and Vice-President of Universities UK, speaking at the Opening plenary. 

The conference took place 22-24 May 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, London and was attended by over 900 delegates (leaders in higher education, business and government) from around the world.

Some 77 countries were represented by delegates, including vice-chancellors, pro vice-chancellors, and government ministers.

Conference theme

'Global cities: connecting talent, driving change'

We explored how universities and colleges support city-regional economies and social and civic engagement, connecting the world's cities to global knowledge and talent and addressing global challenges.

In an era characterised by both globalisation and urbanisation, tertiary education institutions have unprecedented opportunities to mobilise their expertise and prepare young people for the future and drive forward research and policy agendas at the city, national and global levels.

However, universities and colleges also face challenges, not least because of the changing nature and locations of tertiary education delivery.

We examined this theme through four lenses: Research and innovation, Talent development and flows, Societies and communities and Leadership.


All presentations from the conference are available via slideshare.

Going Global 2016, Cape Town, South Africa

''I believe this century will be an African century. That’s because Africa has one very big thing on her side: potential. No one nation, or even one continent, can hope to adequately address all the big issues facing people. And because challenges are connected, solutions must be connected."  Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive, British Council (Opening plenary)

Conference themes


Going Global 2016 asked if international education is destined to be dominated by competitive drivers for economic growth and international standing; by student fees, skilled graduates and research funding or whether it can also be informed by building partnerships to address collective concerns.

We examined these questions through the following lenses:

  • Education policy: local priorities, national systems and global drivers
  • Economic development: skills, enterprise, research and innovation
  • Engagement: democracy, social justice and international relations


Read the research reports, University World News articles, and our Voices blog pieces that highlight the key topics discussed at this year's conference.


The following research was launched at Going Global 2017:

Report: The shape of global higher education - This report evaluates the policies of 26 countries and identifies areas where national governments can provide an enabling environment to their higher education institutions to internationalise and forge collaborations. The accompanying Global Gauge is an interactive higher education policy monitor which summarises the responses against each of the 962 measures used in this evaluation, and lists the data sources used.

Report: Social enterprise in a global context - Set against a context of global growth in higher education, this research seeks to understand and enhance the role of international cooperation between higher education institutions and social enterprises.

Blog posts

How international is your country’s higher education? - Our Research Manager Michael Peak discusses the research on national education policy in 26 countries that shows how open each country is to international higher education. 

Can higher education help fix the refugee crisis? - What can universities and the people who work for them do to help students and academics fleeing violence in Syria and elsewhere? Dr John Law, our Head of UK Education Co-ordination, UK Region, answers.

Can UN development goals fix higher education’s problems? - How do you increase access to higher education? How can you maintain and improve quality? And how do you make sure it's affordable? Nan Yeld, Senior Adviser Higher Education and Development, discusses these challenges.

How to reform a university’s English language department - What problems are common to English language departments at universities in developing countries, and how can they be tackled? Ben Gray, Director of English at the British Council in Libya, looks at the issues.

A step by step plan to internationalise your university - How can universities develop the best international strategy? We asked Dr Jean-Bernard Adrey, Director of the Centre for Global Engagement at Coventry University, which won the Award for Innovation in Internationalisation of the European Association for International Education in 2014 and the Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2015 in recognition of its international growth and success.


Podcasts of the sessions are available to listen to via SoundCloud.

Going Global 2015, London

 Conference themes


At the 2015 conference we proposed that the fusion of diverse cultures generates a creative force, which is a major catalyst of leading edge innovation. Investment in the connection of these cultures produces a tangible return and measurable impact for the future.

Going Global 2015 explored this through three perspectives:

  • Academic discipline and subject cultures: including the impact of multi-disciplinary teams from various fields of study; as well as different cultures of research, teaching and skills development.
  • Organisational cultures - particularly those of higher education institutions; business; skills providers; NGOs and social enterprises.
  • National, regional and local cultures and the extent to which connecting people and ideas across these cultures generates a creative force leading to innovation. 

Together we explored how networks of innovation evolve and grow when cultures cut across boundaries, looking at the role higher education institutions play globally in connecting cultures, as well as anchoring and sustaining networks of innovation. 



Transnational education data collection systems - looking at the existence and characteristics of TNE data collection systems in host countries and the capacity to produce robust data on TNE programmes and enrolment rates.

Educational pathways of leaders - revealing the higher education pathways of professional leaders around the world.

Graduate employability in Sub-Saharan Africa - supporting the development of higher education systems in four Sub-Saharan African countries – Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – and for comparative purposes, the UK.

Managing large systems - looking at nine large higher education systems to generate insights into shared challenges. The nine countries are Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, UK and USA.

Research Performance in South-East Asia - analysing the research performance of five South-East Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

Broadening Horizons 2015 - surveying UK and US students in order to understand their perceived drivers and barriers to overseas study.


Listen to session podcasts from Going Global 2015.