IIE Network - Fall 2013 - (Page 22)

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION Global Research and Commercialization: An Under-the-Radar Next Big Thing By Downing A. Thomas DO INTERNATIONAL COLLABORA TIONS make for better science, or better researchers? This was one of the key questions raised at an event I attended in early 2013, the first Global Research Funding Forum, a forum held at the University of North Texas and organized by UNT’s Office of Research and Economic Development, Toulouse Graduate School, and UNT-International. An impressive group of presenters from around the country, and several from as far away as Thailand and South Africa were in attendance, including representatives from the National Science Foundation and the European Research Council. I didn’t hear a complete or definitive answer to my question; yet the forum began a discussion, in particular between senior international officers and vice-presidents for research, about the ways in which international collaborations support the research missions of our universities both here and abroad. With the development of research activities and facilities in other countries, particularly in the emerging economies of the world, it’s likely that these connections will only increase in importance in the coming decade. While student mobility programs and announcements of branch campus openings and closings capture the limelight, I want to make the case for research as the under-the-radar “next big thing” in international education. International connections are and have always been a core component of the outreach activities undertaken by large U.S. public and land-grant universities. Here at the University of Iowa, writers from dozens of countries produce new poems and stories in Iowa City each fall during the International Writing Program’s annual residency; and the IWP brings writers together around the world to collaborate and translate. Professor Bernd Fritzsch from our Department of Biology works on genes that are considered regulators of hearing organ development and, if better understood, could aid in improved therapies for people 22 with hearing loss. Dr. Fritsch’s work would not be possible without the collaboration of his colleagues at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Lucio Tolentino, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Computer Science, received a Fulbright award to work with the South Africa Center for Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis in the Western Cape. His research explores the ways in which computer modeling of various methods of HIV prevention and intervention can minimize the spread of the disease. These examples are similar to those at many other institutions and are only a few examples of the ways in which global connections are part and parcel of the science and creative work being done by faculty and students at large, public universities. Most often, international ties at our colleges or universities are based on the fact that our institution has a similar academic profile to our partners, where there are welltrained faculty with active, cutting-edge research programs on both sides. These are natural partnerships, where the faculty members on both sides “speak the same language.” Most often, individual faculty will meet colleagues at professional meetings, exchange emails, and develop a connection over time, often leading to reciprocal visits, jointly-sponsored colloquia, and eventually co-authored publications. Sometimes these ties lead to institutional relationships where faculty across departments and colleges build on the one-on-one collaborations begun by individual faculty. Formal linkages or informal connections between such institutions can help faculty identify collaborators who are working on common research areas, provide expanded capacity (people, lab space, technology), and give access to cultural or other information not available at home. The University of Michigan’s partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University to pursue new biomedical and alternative energy technologies is an example of this type of expanded relationship. Governments understand that building research capacity will provide a strong foundation for economic growth and social well-being in the decades to come. In the coming years, we may see an increasing number of partnerships between universities and less obvious partners abroad. There will be opportunities to collaborate with local, regional and national governments as emerging economies view education as a key element to future growth and prosperity. Not only will governments continue to sponsor students for education abroad, but they will also invest in building educational and research capacity at home, by expanding funding for the research enterprises of their existing universities, and by bringing together universities to create synergistic relationships between faculties. Governments understand that building research capacity will provide a strong foundation for economic growth and social well-being in the decades to come. Research expertise and capacity on one side of a partnership might match access to populations for education and training on the other end. Such projects have been underway for a few years now, in the form of education hubs or zones. I believe we will see more of this type of activity, and not only through bricks-andmortar projects. Public-private partnerships are another path to develop research capacity, a path that is gaining increasing visibility. Scholars and scientists seek access to specific populations for socio-cultural data, linguistic studies, or medical research. Such access is www.iie.org/iienetworker http://www.iie.org/iienetworker

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Network - Fall 2013

A Message from Allan E. Goodman
Megatrends: Predicting the Future of International Education
Considering Study Abroad’s Past to Prepare for its Future
The Promise of International Education: Building a More Just and Elevated Civil Society
Global Research and Commercialization: An Under-the-Radar Next Big Thing
Clustering Innovation and Industry: New Opportunities for Europe
Connecting the Dots: Integrating Engagement with International Stakeholders
The Rise of Real-time, Online International Recruitment
Hold on to Your Hats, MOOCs... Here Come the TOQUES!
The Global Youth Engagement Platform: A Peace Corps for the 21st Century
Growing Globally Competent Students to Achieve True Internationalization
Beyond Ourselves: Embracing Our Global Responsibilities
India: Expansion, Equity, Excellence
The Growing World of Collaborative Internationalization: Taking Partnerships to the Next Level
From Multi-national Universities to Education Hubs to Edu-glomerates?
Advertisers Index
Beyond the Numbers: The Who, How and What of Global Student Mobility

IIE Network - Fall 2013