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British Council

We want to work with communities and the population at large. We want to implement large scale solutions. We want to be engaged. We want to give an impact.

Clarenz Concepcion, an instructor at the UST Faculty of Pharmacy

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Life cycle

2016 - present

Country/Region

Various countries

Client/Partner

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), European Union (EU), Newton Fund

Vision

To support university partnerships and collaborations which result in improvements in practice, teaching, learning and research in partner countries and the UK

Situation

In countries where pressure to internationalise is increasing, but where institutions have less experience of operating internationally, common challenges have been found: inexperience in international engagement; lack of globally compatible quality assurance and accreditation systems; little research capacity, networks or track record; strained funding models; and little engagement with industry. We are uniquely placed to convene key stakeholders to address these challenges, learning from best practice in over 100 countries where we operate.

Implementation

By encouraging collaboration at system-to system level we ensure that our interventions will have a greater impact, be more efficient and of more mutual benefit than a series of single initiatives. We do this by supporting institutional capacity building in partner countries, such as India and Thailand, and brokering new opportunities for higher education programmes that support systems and governance reform, identifying capacity issues at national, institutional and individual levels. This is how we add value and go beyond supporting individual institutions’ international strategies.

In Thailand, one significant partnership is the Thailand Research Fund run by the Newton Fund, which engages with over 70 Thai and UK universities, with a thousand researchers in workshops and exchanges.

 

Impact 

University partnerships have delivered real impact across the globe in the countries we’ve worked in. For example, we worked with the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) in Thailand to run policy dialogues and forums on strengthening institutional leadership, research and international cooperation, and have delivered a partnership programme. There are now 22 new partnerships between UK institutions and top Thai research universities. In addition, the programme also delivered a series of activities with the purpose of training staff working with international partners and with industry, and has resulted in creating and strengthening Thai-UK higher education industry links.

In South India, citizens of Pondicherry have improved access to the speedy diagnostic facilities that can make the difference between life and death, thanks to a collaboration between universities in India and the UK. The partnership between Westminster and Anna University as part of the British Council UKIERI (UK–India Education and Research Initiative) programme has resulted in the development of a smartphone-based platform which allows automated diagnosis and classification, allowing a semi-skilled technician to make a diagnosis with clinical accuracy. 

Mutual benefit

We manage partnership programmes in 50 countries around the world, striving to internationalise education, improve research outputs and increase student mobility. Due to this, UK institutions increase their international engagement, contribute to global goals and support national priorities in host country, such as Thailand’s 4.0 economic plan. Our work in Thailand, directly and indirectly, leads to some 8,000 Thai students studying in the UK every year. In fact, Thailand is ranked among the top ten non-EU countries sending students to study in the UK, and ranks 4th in East Asia.

For the UK this demonstrates the opportunity for international programme and provider mobility (IPPM), and opportunities towork with foreignministries in science expertise, consultancy and training in strategic areas.