Glasgow is a globally connected university with deep civic roots.

For over 560 years, the University of Glasgow has established creative and vibrant partnerships with communities, colleagues and students across the world. We collaborate to develop our teaching and research with partners around the world and welcome conversations with potential partners in education, industry, commerce and government.

Below are examples of some our international partnerships in action. 

Three global partners; one incredible experience

We aim to equip our students with an education and skillset that is valued internationally. Our Master of Global Business, launched in 2020, encapsulates this international perspective by providing a truly global learning experience at three leading business schools across three continents (Europe, North America and South-east Asia).

For the University of Glasgow, the Master of Global Business is an opportunity to deliver a new model of mobility: a tripartite postgraduate masters exchange. The programme is delivered alongside our partners: University of Victoria, Canada and Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. This close collaboration offers students from all three universities the chance to gain global business insights.

Group of students from the MGB

Dr Ramona Blanes is the academic lead for Glasgow: "The programme enables the students to move with their cohort to three different continents, assimilate themselves in three cultures and learn about business management in Asia, Europe and North America," she says.

The courses are specifically designed to highlight to the students the similarities and differences in management styles and thinking, and the regulations in the countries.

Master of Global Business study begins at the home university. Then the international experience begins, with mobility taking place in each country: starting with study in the Peter B Gustavson School of Business (Victoria); followed by time at our Adam Smith Business School; and ending at the Chulalongkorn Business School (Bangkok). Finally, the students return to their home university to finish their studies.

As a global cohort, the students study in three diverse, international business environments. World-leading experts from each partner deliver a curriculum that includes business fundamentals, global leadership, cross-cultural intelligence, and a chance to learn a new language. In addition to the core courses, students have the choice to complete an international internship or undertake a thesis research project.

The benefits to the students are obvious, discovering how business is done in an international environment will help future careers. Living, working and studying in three countries equips the students with a high level of cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication that increases effectiveness in international contexts.

In this model, all three partners offer this innovative degree. It is a new dynamic model of delivery that Glasgow is delighted to deliver.

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Engaging with the University of Sydney

Professor Clare McManus is our Dean for Global Engagement (South-east Asia & Australasia). The strategic partnership between UofG and the University of Sydney is an example of successful international collaboration.

"We have had considerable success in developing research and teaching partnerships with universities in South-east Asia and Australasia," explains Clare. "Historically, most of this engagement has been through face-to-face activities when we have welcomed our partners to Glasgow; or when our researchers, staff and students have travelled to the region to engage in research and teaching and exchange of best practice.

Clare McManus

"The COVID-19 pandemic has led us to modify our approach to internationalisation. We have moved many of our international activities online in order to continue to fulfil our core mission to undertake world-leading research and teaching. And we have done this in collaboration with our global partners as part of our commitment to improve societies and address major world challenges, including the current pandemic, during these difficult times."

In September 2020, Glasgow and Sydney held a Joint Virtual Workshop which highlighted some of the exciting collaborations, and discussed ways to create and develop new connections and access opportunities for external funding.

Clare highlights the strategic partnership between UofG and the University of Sydney as an example of successful international collaboration.

"Our strong commitment to international engagement is exemplified by the strategic partnership which we have with the University of Sydney (USyd). It is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2016 in which both universities have committed to work closely to develop a range of joint teaching and research opportunities. Together we run a Partnership Collaboration Award to support research and other collaborative activities between Glasgow and Sydney with both universities allocating funding annually to support joint projects.

One of the projects highlighted was 'Exploring Mars Atom by Atom' led by Professor Martin Lee (Head of School of Geographical & Earth Sciences, UofG) and Professor Julie Cairney (School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, USyd). This project will develop globally recognised capability in the atomic scale analysis of extra-terrestrial materials obtained by robotic missions to Mars, the Moon and passing asteroids; and will enable Glasgow and Sydney to lead international efforts to analyse these unique and exciting samples.

A further virtual event was organised by Glasgow and Sydney in November 2020 and this time the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune was also invited to take part. IISER Pune is Glasgow’s strategic partner in India. During this webinar, staff and students from these three higher education institutions spoke about their experiences of engaging in online learning and teaching during the Covid pandemic.

Furthermore, we are planning a symposium to bring together our experts in cardiovascular disease (causes, prevention, diagnosis and treatment). This will expand our existing collaborations in this area and will also showcase the work of our early career researchers. Moreover, our business schools (Adam Smith Business School and the University of Sydney Business School) are forming a strategic partnership and will be developing a series of joint teaching and research activities over the next few years.

There are plans for more events to facilitate meaningful virtual engagement for staff and students from across all disciplines at our two universities.

New joint PhD arrangement

A new joint PhD Principal Agreement builds on the existing partnership between our institutions and will provide even greater opportunities for research collaboration and student learning. 

The first round of PhD students to benefit from the arrangement will be through the collaboration between students and researchers at the University of Glasgow’s College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences and the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.

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Strengthening our links with Africa

We have strong links with Africa, and over the last few years have also enjoyed a close relationship with the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) network.

Through our membership of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities (the Guild), Glasgow has also been in a strong position to influence a recent joint publication by both networks on a new approach to strengthening Africa’s research, innovation and higher education capacity.

The statement calls for sustainable investment in African knowledge societies by creating Centres of Excellence to confront common challenges for both continents as identified by the African Union and the European Union, such as public health; the Green Deal, the Blue Economy and energy transitions; digital transformations; good governance, peace and security; and migration, mobility and overcoming discrimination.

UoG Principal and Secretary General of ARUA

During the symposium, a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed by our Principal, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, and Professor Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary General of ARUA (image above).

Capacity strengthening in Africa is an issue that the University is keenly invested in, and in 2020 we hosted a symposium on capacity strengthening in Africa, with key contributions from ARUA as well as other Scottish universities, government bodies, funders and partner countries.

Transforming Africa through research and innovation will require strong and effective partnerships. 

The symposium provided an opportunity to showcase some of the fantastic work that we’re leading on and to explore what more can be done in this area.

Professor Paul Garside, Dean of Global Engagement for the Middle East and Africa, and colleagues who are leading on the University’s extensive work in Africa saw the event as an opportunity for meaningful discussion about the key components of capacity building and hearing from the perspectives of key representatives from African universities.

Vice-Principal for External Relations, Rachel Sandison became a Guild board member in June 2020: "I think this is a really important time for Glasgow to lead the conversation in terms of what the key priorities and obstacles are for capacity strengthening, how higher education providers, networks, governments and funders play a role in that, and what the scope is for knowledge exchange and capacity strengthening: not only in terms of academic work but also in professional areas within higher education provision."

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Reimagining our research culture

The University is creating a fairer, more rewarding and successful research environment, supporting our researchers at all stages of their career.

researchers at work with table of artefacts

Good research happens within a community that supports, incentivises and rewards a positive research culture. Changing culture takes time however, and can be achieved only by implementing a sustained set of aligned actions.

To identify the areas to focus on at UofG, we first surveyed our 3,000 research and technical staff and carried out a consultation with each of our 26 academic units. This was followed by conversations with academics, administrators, funders, societies and publishers, resulting in an action plan covering five themes.

These were

  • creating an environment in which colleagues support each other to succeed
  • improving career development
  • introducing fair approaches to evaluating research quality and recognising different contributions to research
  • making research methods and findings openly available
  • supporting high standards of academic rigour.

Projects were devised that reflected these themes and offered practical solutions to specific problems. These were delivered through pop-up teams which brought together human resources, the library, research offices and academic discipline leaders.

Collaboration between people working in academic and professional services was crucial to the implementation and success of the projects.

"A good culture is not an alternative to excellence; rather, it is what will allow more of us to excel.  Dr Tanita Casci, Head of Research Policy

The projects included developing research culture awards that reward collaboration and support; introducing a career track that recognises staff with specialist knowledge and skills but who follow non-traditional paths; and revising recruitment and promotion processes to recognise collegiality.

The University’s work to create a research culture where everyone can thrive has been recognised by being named winner of the Guardian Staff Experience Awards 2020. Integrated financial support was also made available for open access publication, which means Glasgow has the second highest proportion of open access outputs worldwide of any institution with more than 10,000 publications.

The success of the research culture initiative has led to the creation of the Lab for Academic Culture. Launched in December 2020, the lab aims to enhance academic research and teaching culture by implementing local initiatives and shaping sector policies. 

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Future World Changers

Our priority is to nurture our students' potential, support their ambitions and inspire them to go on to change the world. 

Image of 4 University of Glasgow students

Future World Changers, left to right, and their ambitions: Pavel, creating implants to fight infection; Nura, teaching girls and young women how to code; Zu, transforming the portrayal of disability in the media; Razeen, eradicating water scarcity in Bangladesh; and Alison, making giving to charity easy for students.

We want them to have the best student experience we can offer, with a fantastic range of subjects to choose from, delivered by world-renowned researchers, in state-of-the-art lecture theatres and study spaces, and with access to world-class collections and resources.

And we know we’re getting it right. Our students have rated us top in the Russell Group for teaching and joint top in the Russell Group for student satisfaction in the latest National Student Survey (2018).

We believe everyone should have the opportunity to reach their potential. That’s why we are proud of our long tradition of helping talented people to fulfil their ambitions regardless of their background or circumstances.

Through our widening participation work we encourage, prepare and support students who are under-represented in higher education to achieve entry to university. We work with over 100 target schools, as well as colleges, local authorities and other organisations to support school leavers and adult learners alike to prepare for, apply to and succeed at university.

Our history of openness at Glasgow stretches back over the centuries. After being refused entry to university in his own country because of his race, James McCune Smith came to study at Glasgow. In 1837 he became the first African-American to receive a university medical degree. He was influential in more than just medicine, however. He was a dedicated and committed slavery abolitionist.

At Glasgow, we are proud of our diverse, vibrant and talented students and their ambitions to change the world.

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Our award-winning TNE partnership, Glasgow College UESTC

When restrictions prevented our staff from travelling to teach at Glasgow College UESTC, the team’s response to ensure continuity of teaching and research was recognised in a major award

The University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC) and the University of Glasgow (UofG), UK, established the Glasgow College at UESTC in January 2013. Our joint degree programmes in the fields of electronics and electrical engineering, delivered entirely in English, build on the strengths of the Chinese and British education systems, and prepare students for a career better than either University can do alone. 

We’re proud that we’ve managed to build a partnership which was robust enough to withstand the challenges of teaching across the world during a global pandemic.

In 2021, Glasgow College UESTC, was named as Educational Partnership of the Year at the Scotland-China Business Awards. The awards, organised by the China-Britain Business Council, celebrate achievements in trade and investment between Scotland and China. The award recognises Glasgow College UESTC’s:

  • innovative learning and teaching practices, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • success of graduates,
  • quality of joint research projects, and
  • continued influence on the transnational education sector.

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread around the world, preventing face-to-face teaching and our staff from travelling to China, the Glasgow College UESTC team moved quickly to ensure continuity of teaching and research. They developed contingency plans for the effective delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities. The team made great efforts with further innovative projects aimed at maximising the potential of technology to enhance the learning and teaching experience.

Those projects included working with world leaders in robotics and networked control to enable the delivery of remote hands-on laboratory experience, as well as investment in smart equipment and software for ‘state of the art’ remote lecture delivery and the development of a project enabling staff to create a Virtual Reality based self-directed learning experience for their courses. Students also received ongoing pastoral support in all matters of their virtual student life.

Watch the award announcement:

China-Scotland Business Awards 2021 - Award for Educational Partnership of the Year

Professor Muhammad Imran, Professor of Communication Systems and Dean for the University of Glasgow’s partnership with UESTC, said: “We’ve worked hard over the last decade to build a partnership with UESTC that offers unique opportunities to students in Scotland and China and creates new avenues for cutting-edge research. We’re delighted that our efforts have been recognised by the China-Britain Business Council with this award, and we look forward to building on this success in the coming years with fresh plans to expand our teaching capabilities.”

Professor Zeng Bing, Dean of the Glasgow College, UESTC, added: “Glasgow College UESTC combines the teaching and research strengths of universities on two continents to create something truly unique. We’re proud that we’ve managed to build a partnership which was robust enough to withstand the challenges of teaching across the world during a global pandemic, and that our efforts have been well-received by students.”

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Glasgow hosts Times Higher Education Leadership & Management summit

We welcomed university leaders from across the world as host of the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management summit in October 2021. 

The summit, entitled “Recover, Reset, Rebuild. The road to recovery: Leading the transformation of higher education”, looked at the vital role universities will play in the wake of the pandemic, as our societies, economies and communities are rebuilt.

The October THE Leadership and Management summit was the third in the annual series of THE's flagship international events that brings together university leaders from across the world. The summit highlighted how University leaders throughout the pandemic have innovated, delivering world-class learning and research but now need to shift from research to action to meet future crises.

The timing was perfect as it took place just days before the UN Climate Change conference, COP26, and was an opportunity for University's around the world to demonstrate that they are an essential part of the world’s shared mission to avert a climate catastrophe.

University of Glasgow campus from above

The event challenged current university leadership practices and explored

  • the future economic sustainability of higher education
  • how leaders and their management structures can rebuild for future success
  • civic leadership and the role of universities in international diplomacy
  • reputation and the rise of internationalisation of higher education
  • universities and sustainable communities: leading the green agenda
  • digital leadership and the transformation of online education
  • leading a culture of diversity and inclusion.

"This is the second time we have hosted a Times Higher Education Summit,” says Rachel Sandison, Vice Principal, External Relations, “and I am delighted that we provided a home for such a critical thought-leadership event in our sector. We have experienced one of our most challenging years, but I am incredibly proud of the tenacity and innovation that our fantastic TeamUofG expert community has shown throughout the pandemic. It was an honour to be able to highlight to esteemed colleagues across the sector during the event." 

"THE could not be more pleased to be holding the event, the third in the annual series, with the University of Glasgow, an institution involved in world-changing research for over five centuries." Phil Baty, THE

“Global higher education is facing the most challenging, the most searching test of leadership for a generation," says Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer at THE. "Some initial responses to the pandemic have been truly inspirational, showing universities at their very, very best: dynamic, responsive, collegial, collaborative and indeed, world changing. But perhaps the biggest leadership challenges are still to come. University leaders have to protect the viability and sustainability of our great seats of learning and research to ensure they can play their vital, central role in supporting the world not just through a health crisis, but through geopolitical, economic and social crises too.