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Cardiff and Illinois sign Strategic Partnership

26 June 2023

Two men look at the camera as they hold a strategic partnership document
Professor Tim Killeen (l) and Professor Rudolf Allemann

Cardiff University has signed a strategic partnership with the University of Illinois (UI) System.

The five-year agreement will underpin an evolving programme of work and student exchange between Wales’s most research-intensive university and UI - one of the premier institutions in the US.

UI consistently features in the world’s top university league tables. Its Urbana Champaign campus ranked 85 in QS 2023, and at 48 in Times Higher Education 2023.

The institutions have developed close ties through the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), UI’s interdisciplinary private-public research institute and hub of the Illinois Innovation Network in the heart of the City of Chicago. Cardiff joined DPI in 2018 as its first International Partner and is the UK’s sole academic member.

Signing the partnership, UI President, Professor Tim Killeen, who originally hails from Cardiff, said: “I’m delighted to seal this agreement in my home city. Growing up in Roath, education played a vital role in creating life-changing opportunities. Our partnership with Cardiff aims to generate similar career-defining chances that can transform lives. It will allow students, researchers and staff from both our institutions to collaborate closely across areas of joint expertise: from engineering and physical sciences to healthcare, journalism and environmental science.”

The strategic partnership aims to strengthen joint research in key areas: energy systems and Net Zero emissions, cybersecurity, data science and artificial intelligence, cancer research, geo-sciences, entrepreneurship and innovation, water and prairie research, and journalism.

Professor Colin Riordan, President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University, said: “The partnership underpins our world-leading ambitions, tackling issues of global importance captured in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The collaboration offers fantastic opportunities to bid for international collaborative funding through UK Research and Innovation’s partnership with the National Science Foundation, and the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory’s work with the US Department of Defense.”

Professor Rudolf Allemann, Pro Vice-Chancellor, International and Student Recruitment and Head of Cardiff’s College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, added: “Partnering with UI creates great opportunities for all students and researchers to participate in impactful international experiences. It supports our commitment to ‘global opportunities’ for our students, enabling them to study in an international setting or gain international experience during their studies. Working with UI will allow us to expand the reach of our research, especially through our Innovation Campus.”

The University of Illinois hosts 94,000 students across three campuses: Chicago, Springfield and Urbana Champaign. Providing the state’s largest system of higher education, UI has its own hospital, clinics, airport, research facilities and extension offices.

Cardiff’s work with DPI has already led to three applications to the US National Science Foundation and a successful seed grant from DPI on “Pathway to Net Zero” for electric vehicles in the Chicago area.

Last month, climate scientist and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient, Professor Donald J. Wuebbles, Urbana Champaign, opened Cardiff University’s Translational Research Hub – the focus for the collaboration’s Net Zero ambitions in Wales.

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