Meet Professor Kostas Kontis, our Dean for Global Engagement in China & East Asia

Kostas discusses the importance of embedding an interdisciplinary perspective in partnerships to address global challenges and highlights the strategic partnerships between the University of Glasgow and leading universities in East Asia as examples of successful international collaboration.

My passion for global engagement

I am a passionate internationalist and an engineer, collaborating with senior professionals from academia and industry across the world in joint research projects or joint-initiative planning. My relationship with East Asia started in January 1998 as an EU Science & Technology Fellow in Japan.

"My focus is on strong engagement in developing partnerships and addressing grand challenges."

I joined the University of Glasgow in 2013 as the Mechan Chair of Engineering and Professor of Aerospace Engineering. Since 2018, as the Dean for Global Engagement for China & East Asia, I’ve been responsible for shaping the University’s international activity in this region and delivering on our internationalisation objectives. 

Working together towards a more sustainable future

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, are an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership to address numerous threats ranging from climate change, pandemics, natural disasters, to unemployment and inequality. Now more than ever, it is deeply apparent that our common prosperity depends on humanity’s ability to cooperate and address the most pressing problems of our age.

The University of Glasgow’s World Changers Together strategy recognises the fundamental importance of a culture of open cooperation as a community of discovery, that reaches beyond boundaries and draws inspiration and strength from its connections and partnerships worldwide.

Universities and research institutes in the East Asia region can play an active role in forging a sustainable future through dialogue, solidarity and collaboration. We can come together to share our visions and best practices on the SDGs, develop capacity and explore the potential of cooperation for innovation-driven sustainable development by harnessing the power of technology to expand access to quality education.

Sustainability research with our East Asia partners

"Our doors are open to forge new initiatives with our international partners, and we look forward to working together to address the grand challenges of our time."

The University of Glasgow has many institutional partners across East Asia. We have established synergies and fostered links with stakeholders in the region resulting in high-quality collaborations in the form of research, teaching and learning activities. We are deepening our engagement with several universities to amplify our local and global impact, and the following three examples of partnerships are with institutions that are at the forefront of sustainability research.

In collaboration with Kyushu University, Japan we are pursuing impactful actions to highlight future technologies and approaches to realise carbon capture and to assess their societal implications. Our goal is not only to solve the problem of climate change but also to contribute to the production of carbon resources for local consumption and the creation of an energy robust society through the recycling of CO2 from the atmosphere, a resource accessible to anyone on Earth.

With the University of Hong Kong, we are developing initiatives linked to changing urban environments. We are exploring opportunities at the interface of urban studies/planning, sciences and engineering. Our goal is not only to understand the social, legal and technical challenges for new forms of data but also to translate this into the pedagogy of urban analytics programmes and a vision for urban research labs or groups.

We are also pursuing initiatives with Zhejiang University, China linked to green economy, sustainability and IT, to deepen our collaboration and exchanges in new business models, cultural innovation and media, information and data sciences.