Radboud-Glasgow: a pioneering international partnership

We embarked on a pioneering relationship with Radboud University in recognition of our shared strategic goals. Here, we explore the developing partnership.

In June 2018, both institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which committed us to invest jointly in collaborative projects that developed research, student experience, and staff mobility. To achieve these objectives, the Radboud Glasgow Collaboration Fund (RGCF) was established.

The RGCF has an annual call to fund joint research or learning and teaching projects and is overseen by a Joint Steering Committee made up of staff from both institutions. From 2018-22 staff could apply for up to £20,000 to support these projects. Staff from professional and academic services at each institution are also eligible to apply for short-term mobility grants of up to £2,000 through an open call. These grants can help fund professional development, exchange of best practice, guest lectures or new collaborations. To date, the RGCF has been able to fund up to 32 projects and 22 staff mobilities.

In June 2023, the MoU was renewed for another five years. The renewal of this agreement and the recognition of the strategic value of the Radboud-Glasgow partnership were underpinned by the announcement that both institutions would commit further funding to the RGCF.

The MoU being signed: From L to R: Charlotte Kedslie (Head of International Relations, UofG), Daniël Wigboldus (President Executive Board, RU), Rachel Sandison (Deputy Vice Chancellor – External Engagement, UofG), Jan Palmowski (Secretary General of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities)

The value of the Radboud-Glasgow partnership

The Radboud-Glasgow relationship is unique in that it has a level of depth across both universities reaching from academia to professional services. In particular, the research offices of both institutions have begun an effective collaboration. The distinctive outcomes of this collaboration were presented at the European Association of Research Managers and Administrators to demonstrate the important role the research offices can play in developing partnerships, by working across institutions to provide support internationally.

In September 2023, the partnership was further showcased when Glasgow’s Professor Lorna Hughes, Dean for Global Engagement (Europe) and co-chair of the RGCF Joint Steering Committee, in collaboration with colleagues at Radboud University and the British Council, took part in a discussion panel at the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL) UNLimited Conference in Den Bosch. UNL is an organisation that connects all 14 Dutch universities to develop a strong higher education sector in the Netherlands.

The overall theme of the 2023 conference was ‘transcending boundaries’, including universities as a hub of cooperation. Professor Hughes’ panel focused on ‘Beyond student mobility, developing in-depth international partnerships: a UK/NL case study’. The session was well attended by many working at Dutch universities seeking to develop or to deepen partnerships with UK universities. It also covered the important role of the British Council in supporting academic collaborations.

Tying it all Together

To build on the success of the first five years of the Radboud-Glasgow partnership, the partners are working to identify new areas of focus for projects to make the best use of the funding.

In November 2023, the Members of the Joint Steering Committee and staff from the research offices at both institutions met in Nijmegen to discuss the areas of focus for the upcoming RCGF call. This will be the first call under the new MoU, and the first call that reflects the increased funding available. These discussions were influenced by the recent welcome decision that the UK will rejoin the Horizon funding scheme. As a result, a key area of focus was also on the role of the RGCF in this renewed landscape.

Professor Hughes noted: “The renewal of the partnership with Radboud is very welcome, and recognises the value and impact of the partnership, and the activities it has supported.

“As we look again to the UK’s involvement in Horizon, having the RGCF as a lever to support collaborations with a major strategic partner in Europe is incredibly important, and we are all looking forward to seeing what exciting activities can be funded in the coming years”.