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Edinburgh in Scotland


Competitive funding supports talented researchers and teachers
Europe, the birthplace of the modern university, is our leading source of research collaborations.

In the past three years, our researchers have produced more than 12,000 co-authored publications with academics from European universities and institutions, chiefly in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Denmark and the Netherlands.

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 $650,000 in funding – matched by our partners – to support our talented researchers and teachers in 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.

Our partners in Europe

Our partnership agreement with the University of Edinburgh provides joint funding to support collaborative research projects. Five projects are funded each year.

Super Exchange agreement for students is also in place.

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.

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.

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.

We have strong research links with University College London (UCL), particularly in medicine, and it is one of our top three partners worldwide for joint research publications. Other areas of collaboration include planetary health, geoscience and criminology, and there are plans to establish a long-term partnership between the Charles Perkins Centre and UCL’s Food, Metabolism and Society research domain.

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.

Advancing IVF procedures in sheep

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.

More collaborative projects

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.  

Facts & figures

Europe fast facts

  • 7 partners
  • $850,000+ invested in joint research
  • 11,000 co-authored publications since 2016

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