Campus launches effort to form new global alliance

The leaders of three of the world’s leading institutions of higher education have announced their intention to form a new global alliance to collaborate on research and graduate-level programs.

In a joint statement released today, the chancellor of UC Berkeley, the vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge and the president of the National University of Singapore (NUS) described their objectives and aspirations:

university leaders discussing global alliance

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, National University of Singapore President Tan Chorh Chuan and University of Cambridge Vice Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz in a video conference to discuss the proposed alliance.

On behalf of our institutions we, the undersigned, have agreed to take the first step towards the formation of a new alliance of global campuses that will, through collaborative research and educational programs, take on some of the world’s most pressing problems. Over the coming months we intend to establish a governance structure and operating procedures for this unique multilateral partnership — the cornerstone of an alliance that we expect to expand, in terms of participation and programmatic scope, in the future.

We are motivated by our commitment to utilize our combined academic resources for the greater good in our home countries and around the world. We believe that this new alliance will open the way for scholars and students at partner institutions to connect, collaborate and interact in ways that could not otherwise take place.

While there are certainly a number of multilateral and bilateral global partnerships already in existence — many of which our institutions already participate in — this endeavor is differentiated by its intention to place a commitment to address global problems at the center of its activities. Among the research interests we have already identified, based on existing collaborations, are global public health, climate change, data science and precision medicine. In the coming months we look forward to engaging members of our respective faculties, as well as students, in order to solicit their ideas and input regarding the specifics of the alliance’s research and educational agendas.

In the short term our goal and commitment is to reach agreement on a detailed memorandum of understanding by April 2016.

Professor Nicholas Dirks
University of California, Berkeley

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Vice Chancellor, 
University of Cambridge

Professor Tan Chorh Chuan
National University of Singapore

According to Chancellor Dirks, the new alliance will be organizationally distinct from the Berkeley Global Campus, which is slated for development on university-owned property along Richmond Bay. At the same time, he said, there is the potential for a strong linkage between the two.

“The Berkeley Global Campus is where we envision that much of the new alliance’s Berkeley-based activities will take place,” said Dirks. “We hope and believe that partners in the alliance will be interested in participating in activities at the Berkeley Global Campus, as will others from the academic, corporate and nonprofit sectors.”

Welcoming the proposed alliance, Cambridge Vice Chancellor Borysiewicz said, “Cambridge’s mission is ‘to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.’ I believe this new initiative will help us fulfill that mission, working together in this new model of global engagement to tackle the complex problems that challenge humanity.”

NUS President Tan Chorh Chuan also provided strong endorsement for the endeavor. “NUS has strong, existing collaborations with the University of California, Berkeley, as well as with the University of Cambridge,” he said. “We are pleased to further intensify these relationships in the alliance of global campuses. We believe that this alliance would provide unique opportunities for our faculty and students to work together in ways that would accelerate multilateral and multinational linkages in the search for solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. The different but complementary expertise, perspectives and data that each partner can bring will be a key strength of this alliance. We also believe that the partnership will contribute to the overall growth of the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems in these vibrant hubs.”

For more information about the alliance, please see this FAQ.