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International sub-strategy

In light of significant changes in the global context, we have recast our International sub-strategy.

The revised strategy takes into account the implications, and potential opportunities, presented by the end of the UK’s transition period for exiting the EU and the global Covid-19 pandemic. Our international ambitions have not changed but how we seek to achieve these has been adapted to the changed environment.

Our ambition

Cardiff University is a global, outward looking university with growing international staff, student and alumni communities. We extend our reach internationally through partnerships with high quality institutions across the world. We support our students and staff to build meaningful global connections through international exchanges and collaborations. We contribute to the global higher education mission by supporting the expansion of education and research capacity of our partners. Our international research partnerships enhance the global reputation and impact of our work. Through our international activities our ambition is to make a positive contribution to issues of global importance.

Building on the previous strategy

The strong progress made against our international strategy to date provides a firm foundation for our future direction. Our global outlook and reputation are reflected in our student and staff community and our university partnerships. In 2019/20, 23% of our students and 30% of our academic staff were of overseas nationalities and our four strategic partnerships with Xiamen University, University of Campinas, Beijing Normal University and the University of Bremen have further increased the international opportunities for our students and staff. Having developed and supported a variety of global opportunities open to all our undergraduate students, 22% of our home undergraduate students graduated with a completed international placement of three weeks or more in 2019/20, thereby contributing to their academic achievements, employability and intercultural skills.

Underpinning objectives

We will be known as a University that is:

  • recognised as world-leading, where international connections are paramount, and which contributes actively to issues of global importance;
  • creating opportunities for all students to participate in impactful international experiences as an integral part of their study;
  • actively supporting our staff to engage in developing international education and research partnerships;
  • strengthening our global alumni network to support our international mission.

Making this happen

Long-term commitment is key to the success of our international activities, in particular during a time of major change and disruption to the international environment. We will therefore put in place the necessary mitigation measures to maintain and build our global connections through virtual means and prepare for a post-Covid-19 world where in-person international activities, travel and free social interaction will be possible once more. Notwithstanding this, we will use experience gained during the Covid-19 pandemic to promote a long-lasting transformation in our approach to international activities, and especially travel.

Invest in global opportunities for our students

We will continue to encourage all of our students to be internationally connected by providing excellent opportunities and support for study, work or volunteering in an international setting; explicitly, at least 20% of our home undergraduate student population will have studied, worked or volunteered abroad for at least two weeks, or gained other substantive international experience during their degree with us.

Through continued investment in our Global Opportunities offering and our international partnerships, we will:

  • ensure that a wide range of placements in Europe and other key regions continue to be available for undergraduate students post-Brexit, within the bounds of the Covid-19 restrictions;
  • investigate opportunities for ‘internationalisation at home’, ensuring that this is a meaningful option, and promote student engagement;
  • develop, promote and support gainful and worthwhile virtual mobility experiences for our students through partner universities, organisations and international alumni;
  • explore opportunities for blended programme delivery with our strategic partners;
  • work with student support service teams to widen participation, ensuring accessibility and appeal of programmes to our diverse student population;
  • work with our academic Schools to develop new credit-bearing mobility experiences.

Encourage an internationally diverse community of students and alumni

Despite the challenges of Brexit and Covid-19 for student recruitment, we remain ambitious and optimistic that our successful recruitment networks and international partnerships give us the opportunity for further quality growth in the international diversity of our student body; explicitly we will aim for 25% of our student population to come from outside the UK.

We will:

  • take advantage of emerging digital capabilities and adopt innovative approaches to increase our international reach, including enhanced use of CRM technology in building relationships with our applicants;
  • increase our complement of in-country staff in key regions of the world who work directly with prospective students to support them in joining our university;
  • explore innovations to our degree programmes, including new modes for programme delivery;
  • further develop our recruitment partnerships strategy; pursuing new articulation agreements to create opportunities for students at our partner institutions to study in Cardiff for part of their degree programme;
  • devise a Transnational Education Strategy (TNE) that showcases Cardiff’s academic strengths internationally and initiate the development of at least two TNE partnerships by 2023;
  • grow the number and activity levels of our international alumni groups and proactively engage them in our international activities.

Attract international talent

We will continue to recruit worldwide to attract the best talent to join our staff, enhancing the impact and diversity of our education and research; explicitly we will aim for 30% of our academic staff to be international (of non-UK nationality).

We will:

  • promote our international profile and strengthen our reputation for excellence internationally through effective communication of the outputs and achievements of our staff;
  • aim to become the institution of choice for academic global talent through new UK funding opportunities for international incoming researchers in key strategic areas;
  • exploit the opportunities provided by new remote working practices to enable international staff to initially join and work for us remotely, as necessary;
  • support our new staff to become embedded in our community through a dedicated academic mentoring scheme.

Nurturing mutually beneficial international partnerships

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the value and strength of our international partnerships, as we have developed ways to maintain and grow our interactions by virtual means. Equally, we value the legacy of our long-standing relationships formed through our participation in EU programmes. We will continue to actively seek strong relationships with international partner universities in key regions of the world, to raise our global profile and increase education and research collaboration opportunities for our students and staff; explicitly we aim to have at least five strategic partnerships with international academic institutions by 2023.

We will:

  • implement our new International Partnership Strategy and promote the opportunities it creates across the university;
  • aim to formalise and announce our fifth Strategic Partnership in 2021;
  • actively explore opportunities for additional partnerships at various levels in key regions, informed by our International Partnership Strategy;
  • explore synergies and develop links, where possible, between our international partnerships, the Welsh Government’s International Strategy and the opportunities emerging from the UK International Education Strategy and the Research & Development Roadmap;
  • actively work with our international partners to pursue collaboration opportunities enabled by their respective national strategies, priority areas and initiatives.