Facts & figures
Europe fast facts
- 7 partners
- $1.2 million invested in joint research
- 13,000 co-authored publications since 2016
Our researchers have produced more than 13,000 co-authored publications since 2016 with academics from European universities and institutions, chiefly in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark.
Since 2016, we have signed or renewed seven agreements with European university partners, representing a cross-section of the region’s leading universities. Our partners are committed to building and investing in active, productive collaborations.
To date we have committed more than $1.2 million in funding – matched by our partners – to support our talented researchers and teachers in 100 joint research projects, early-career mobility awards and collaborative workshops.
Europe is also the most popular destination for our outgoing exchange students and we have super exchange agreements in place with Edinburgh, Utrecht and Copenhagen.
The new Sorbonne University in Paris, established in 2018 by a merger between Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre et Marie Curie University, is our newest European partner. The two universities will sign a formal agreement, with funding for joint research projects, later in 2019.
University College London (UCL), founded in 1826, is one of the world's leading multi-disciplinary universities and a member of the League of European Research University. The University of Sydney recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UCL to explore and participate in shared teaching, training and research activities across a broad range of faculties which include the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Arts and Social Science and to build on existing links developed over the past few years.
Under our partnership agreement with the University of Copenhagen, both universities provide up to $100,000 in funding (for a total of three years) to support joint research and other collaborative projects.
These include international consortiums, joint coursework units, multilateral partnerships, conferences and workshops, staff mobility, student exchange, information exchange, research seminars and innovation centres.
We also have a Super Exchange agreement in place for students.
Funding of up to $40,000 is available for joint research projects between the University of Sydney and the University of Geneva. Four projects are selected annually, with encouragement given to multidisciplinary research.
Under our partnership agreement with the University of Glasgow, we have completed two rounds of mobility funding, providing up to $5000 for early career researchers to travel and conduct research, and a full round of partnership collaboration awards.
We have two partnership agreements with Utrecht University. Both universities contribute $100,000 per year (over three years) to support a joint funding program that grows research links across a variety of academic fields.
A Super Exchange agreement boosts the number of exchange students between the two universities. The five-year agreement facilitates up to 100 students from Sydney studying in Utrecht each year, with a similar number of Dutch students travelling to Sydney.
The University of Sydney values its partnership with INSERM, a public science and technology institute wholly dedicated to biomedical research and human health. Its objective is to promote the health of all by advancing knowledge about life and disease, treatment innovation, and public health research that is involved in the entire range of activities from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside.
INSERM boasts partnerships with the most prestigious research institutions in the world that are committed to scientific challenges and progress in these fields.
Our researchers are working with colleagues at Utrecht University to develop an ovine IVF procedure that produces high-quality sheep embryos.
The project, which has received partnership funding from both universities, extends the work done at Utrecht on bovine IVF. If it is successful, it could unlock commercial opportunities.
“We are trying to better understand the process of fertilisation,” says Dr Tamara Leahy from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, who is leading the University of Sydney research team.
“We have already developed a new fluorescent assay for the measurement of cholesterol in sperm samples which is easy to use, cost effective and reliable.”
The process has been trialled in Sydney by Associate Professor Bart Gadella from Utrecht’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and Sydney PhD candidate Naomi Bernecic spent six months at Utrecht to further validate the test.
The research team is working on two joint papers for publication, and has discussed further collaborations with INRA, the French agricultural research institute.
Where did galaxies like our own Milky Way come from? A joint research project co-led by Professor Geraint Lewis and Professor Rob Ivison, astrophysicists at the University of Sydney and the University of Edinburgh, has opened up a new window on the universe and the search for the cold gases that fuelled the formation of stars like the Sun.
The collaboration has produced a new computational approach that combines data sources to uncover the cosmological distances to objects, a key feature in determining just where a galaxy sits in the overall evolution of the universe. Whilst a major development, it is only a first step, and the research will continue with on-going observational programs in the world’s leading facilities, with future plans to use the Hubble Space Telescope to peer into the distant universe.
The project, co-funded by the University of Sydney and the University of Edinburgh through Partnership Collaboration Awards, could advance our knowledge about the early universe, revealing the birth places of galaxies.
Professor Lewis and Professor Ivison expect new data to flow towards the end of the year, providing exciting insights into the growth of the early universe. It is expected that significant scientific papers, with high international impact, will quickly follow.
The collaboration has already produced one paper in Nature.
In Australia, some 38,000 reports are made each year in relation to people who go missing. Ninety-eight out of every hundred are located quickly, within a month or less, with just under half at risk of going missing again – a pattern of behaviour that involves significant social, economic and health-related costs for those vulnerable to going missing, police and the wider community.
Until now, international research has primarily focussed on search and rescue techniques, or the grief experiences of those left behind. But a joint research project co-led by Dr Sarah Wayland, Lecturer in Behavioural and Social Sciences in Health at the University of Sydney, and Hester Parr, Professor in Geography at the University of Glasgow, will allow a group of academics from both universities, alongside industry and community partners, to focus attention on the health and wellbeing of those who return, and to effectively intervene to prevent future incidents. Due to COVID-19 plans to collaborate in person have now shifted to utilising online platforms to continue this important work.
Dr Wayland said: “The project will seek to identify, across different spatial contexts, how to facilitate a shift from ‘missing persons’ being a law enforcement issue to a public health problem. Only a tiny percentage of these people are victims of crime. We need to understand the voices of those who return from going missing in order to develop a comprehensive prevention strategy”
Dr Wayland has been researching missing people since 2004, initially as a counsellor and then manager of the NSW Government Families and Friends of Missing persons Unit. She said her experiences had led her to believe there was a need to understand psychologically why people go missing in the first place and how they can be connected to support services to ensure they do not go missing again.
She was interviewed on ABC radio earlier this year about the research project with a recent opportunity to discuss the impact of the one year anniversary of missing Belgian backpacker, Theo Hayez, on Triple J Hack. Her survey, to assist in gathering data to support the project can also be found here.
A project led by the University of Edinburgh and involving the University of Sydney, the University of Copenhagen, and other European partners, sets out to answer these questions. Developing a Framework for Evaluation of International University Partnerships, or EVALUATE, is funded by the European Union under the Erasmus+ scheme and aims to improve the quality and consistency of the evaluation of strategic international partnerships between universities in Europe and beyond.
Other partners in the consortium include the University of Helsinki, Leiden University and University College Dublin.
Consortium partners will develop by August 2022 a framework for the evaluation of partnerships based on existing good practice, evaluation literature and practices in associated industries, and consultation with stakeholders.
The UK National Agency, which controls and coordinates the Erasmus programs in the UK, approved the project in May 2020 with a budget of €409,580. Consortium meetings have been taking place virtually to discuss next steps such as project outputs and revised timelines.
Staff working on the project include Amanda Sayan and Kathleen Berezay from the Office of Engagement (University of Sydney) Derek Macleod, Llinos Jones and their team (University of Edinburgh), and Mie Morthorst and Hedvig Thomsen (University of Copenhagen).
“EVALUATE is an innovative project that addresses an area of need,” said Amanda Sayan, Partnerships Director at the University of Sydney. “We are excited to be part of this project, both to contribute our expertise and to learn from other partners.”
Just under a year after signing a strategic partnership agreement, Sydney and Sorbonne have launched into a series of materials science workshops. The four online meetings during October and November focused on energy, biomaterials, catalysis and optics.
Sorbonne University became Sydney’s 20th global partner in November 2019 when Sorbonne president Jean Chambaz and Vice President for International Development Serge Fdida visited Sydney.
A large Sorbonne delegation was due to visit Sydney in March 2020 for a series of workshops but the coronavirus epidemic intervened. “The travel restrictions have played havoc with our planning, but it’s forced us to be resourceful and to look at new ways of doing things,” said Sydney’s Partnerships Director Amanda Sayan.
“The virtual workshops are a product of that new thinking, and it’s a tribute to the determination of our two academic champions, Professor David McKenzie in the School of Physics at Sydney and Professor Mathieu Salanne in the PHENIX laboratory at Sorbonne University. It speaks volumes about the potential contained in this partnership.”
More than 100 established researchers and students took part in the workshops, covering themes such as porous materials, nanoscience, hydrogen economy, bio sensing, energy storage and photovoltaics.
Another joint virtual workshop on Quantum Artificial Intelligence was also held in mid-November.
Sorbonne and Sydney are also exploring options in other subjects including medicine, the humanities, environment and musicology, and there are further discussions around a joint PhD.
The University of Sydney and the University of Glasgow will hold a speed collaboration event for researchers in early 2021 to provide networking and relationship-building opportunities in the absence of face-to-face engagement.
The event will use Zoom and break-out rooms to re-imagine a networking event in an online environment. It will focus on a few different disciplines identified as research areas of interest between the two institutions. The aim is to connect researchers with similar interests across schools and disciplines.
The idea behind the event was suggested by researchers during a joint virtual forum on Glasgow-Sydney Research Collaboration in September. The workshop brought together more than 45 participants from both institutions to discuss the significant impact on international university collaborations caused by COVID-19 and how researchers can adapt and thrive in the current circumstances.
Building on the strategic partnership established between the two universities in 2016, the forum was also an opportunity to showcase joint research projects, explore external funding opportunities, discuss next steps and think creatively about how to maintain the partnership in the current environment.
The five workshops held in March and April 2021, focused on societal drivers of AMR and social science of AMR, antifungal resistance and food security.
The discussions covered opportunities for interinstitutional collaboration in shared areas of strength based on current understanding/approaches, remaining knowledge gaps and funding opportunities.
Ruth Zadoks, Professor of Production Animal Health at the University of Sydney and Professor Lisa Boden, Chair of Population Medicine and Veterinary Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh, worked together to organise these workshops featuring 11 speakers from both institutions.
More than 100 researchers and students took part in the multidisciplinary workshops and had the opportunity to connect and network offline between events.
Edinburgh and Sydney are exploring options to progress the research collaboration and partnership such as submitting joint grant proposals and discussions about a joint PhD.
A new MoU between the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney and College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences (MVLS) at the University of Glasgow was signed on the 26 October 2021. This celebration also included renewal of the institutional MoU with University of Sydney.
Professor Stephen Simpson, Academic Director of Charles Perkins Centre, said: “I am thrilled that the Charles Perkins Centre is embarking with our renowned colleagues in the College of MVLS at the University of Glasgow to tackle the epidemics of obesity, cardiometabolic and autoimmune diseases that are threatening the sustainability of health systems worldwide. Meeting this challenge requires tackling root causes which lie in the modern industrialised food system, in our built and work environments, and deep in social disadvantage and inequity.
"We need new models of disease prevention and treatment that build upon the emerging science indicating the shared biology of many chronic disease, ageing - and susceptibility to infectious diseases. Pulling this off requires partners who have deep expertise, disciplinary breadth and who understand how to work across disciplines. The CPC and the College of MVLS are such partners and I look forward to an exciting future together.“
Professor Iain McInnes, Vice Principal and Head of College of MVLS, commented: “The College of MVLS is delighted to establish this exciting new partnership with the Charles Perkins Centre - an internationally renowned, multidisciplinary, research and education hub that uses a complex-systems approach to tackling chronic diseases.
"We share values, curiosity, and a complementary focus so are very much looking forward to collaborating with our colleagues in Sydney. Together, we can create a superb platform to make critical inroads into the understanding and management of chronic diseases that afflict society to improve global health. ”
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Mark Scott, and Professor Iain McInnes signed the new MoU with the Charles Perkins Centre together with the Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, Professor Stephen Simpson.
This collaboration will build on three symposiums already held as part of this new partnership covering:
Future plans are to establish new collaborations between staff at both partners in complimentary research areas (such as, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease), joint PhD research projects and when possible, staff and student exchanges.
The institutional MoU was signed by Professor Mark Scott and Professor Kathy Belov (for the University of Sydney) and Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli and Rachel Sandison (for the University of Glasgow). The collaboration continues to address current challenges, for example two jointly organised webinars were held on ‘The future of education in a Covid-recovery world’ in November 2020 and May 2021.
A joint research project co-led by Professor David James and Dr Sean Humphrey from the University of Sydney and Professor Jørgen Wojtaszewski from the University of Copenhagen, could revolutionise our understanding of type 2 diabetes in diverse populations and provide new drug targets, initiating the development of Precision Medicine strategies to tailor appropriate treatments.
Exercise is known to have profoundly beneficial effects for people with diabetes as it improves insulin sensitivity. However, the mechanisms for this effect have eluded researchers for decades. By teaming up with researchers in Copenhagen, world leaders in exercise research in humans, James and Humphrey have applied their cutting edge mass spectrometry methods to study protein phosphorylation in people following exercise. One of the striking findings to emerge from this work is that each individual was found to possess a unique pattern of protein phosphorylation spanning many thousands of data points. By utilising these unique patterns they were able to for the first time begin to discover novel aspects of the molecular circuitry used by exercise to encode its beneficial effects.
The ongoing collaboration is expected to have an incredibly strong impact given it is currently working on a $2.2M USD project with Pfizer on how exercise promotes insulin sensitivity in European populations. The team has taken advantage of these resources to develop sophisticated tools and methods that they are now planning on applying to Indigenous populations such as the Greenlandic Inuits who are well known to be at unusually high risk of developing diabetes.
The project, which has led to a paper accepted for publication in Nature Biotechnology, has been co-funded by the University of Sydney and the University of Copenhagen through Partnership Collaboration Awards.
The teams have now applied for additional funding in Australia and in Copenhagen to continue the project.
Facts & figures