Last week I was an invited participant in a British Council sponsored conference in London “UK-U.S. Higher Education Partnerships: Realizing the Potential." The goal of the symposium was to explore the issues affecting collaborations and identify strategies that can strengthen UK-U.S. collaborations overall.
A recent study commissioned by the British Council noted the historical importance of the UK-U.S. relationship in research, mobility of students, scholars and faculty, and collaborative degrees, as well as the changing global context for these exchanges, which indicate a trend toward a smaller market share for the United Kingdom, even as the international market for mobility and research collaboration grows. By the end of 2010, more than a quarter million U.S. students will have studied in the United Kingdom in the previous ten years. Clearly there is considerable goodwill and close friendships between the United Kingdom and United States, but the study concludes that this friendship should not be taken for granted. At the same time, the report noted a changing landscape for U.S. academic relationships, with a growing emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region as source countries for international students, destinations for U.S. study abroad, and partners for research collaboration. And, as Asia students/scholars establish long term relationships with U.S. institutions, the focus on Asia will continue to grow.
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