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University Of Auckland And Penn State Unite On International Summit

The University of Auckland is partnering with Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) to host the Times Higher Education (THE) Innovation & Impact Summit focusing on the value of international research and collaboration.

‘Cultivating resilience, changing the world’ will explore the critical ways research and academia are supporting global development. Thought leaders from across five continents and more than 130 countries will look at how innovation can create resilience and crisis can create opportunity, as well as how to ensure that all facets of society benefit from world-class research.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater says that the summit is timely, and the importance of the global research community working together to respond to the multiple and varied challenges that impact around the world has never been more keenly felt.

“The role of universities is crucial at this time and our shared knowledge allows us to make advances that have local, national and international reach and significance”, she said.

“The Covid pandemic has highlighted the need for international collaboration led by world-class universities; this virtual summit will be a conduit for this sharing of ideas. We are pleased to be co-hosting this summit, modelling the collaboration that we all know is the way of the future.”

In addition, and in keeping with the theme of the event, the results of the THE University Impact Rankings will be announced during the summit. This year, more than 1200 universities have submitted for evaluation against the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These were introduced in 2016, setting a 15-year agenda for all countries to end poverty, fight inequalities and build peaceful, just, and sustainable societies.

The University of Auckland has been ranked first in the world in the two years since the ranking was launched in 2019.

The University of Auckland and summit partner Penn State have an existing strategic relationship, collaborating on teaching and research in a partnership signed in 2020.

University of Auckland International Office Director Brett Berquist said that the two universities had co-funded joint research that could be accomplished through online or other remote collaboration.

“Covid-19 exposed a critical need for institutions to develop effective models for virtual collaboration and experiential learning to promote global thinking. The virtual THE Innovation & Impact Summit is a natural development of this,” he said.

Penn State University President Eric Barron said he was delighted that Penn State was joining the University of Auckland to support the summit devoted to innovation and research impact as the world begins to move beyond a global pandemic.

“I look forward to the outcomes of this innovative international collaboration," he said.

The THE Innovation & Impact Summit will bring together senior leaders across higher education, research, industry and policy making to share best practice and innovative ideas about the future of world-class universities.

Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer at THE, noted that despite being separated by almost 9,000 miles (nearly 14,000 kms) the University of Auckland and Penn State were joining forces with THE for a truly global and fully-inclusive gathering.

“Spread across multiple time zones, this event will bring university academics and administrators together with policymakers and corporations from all continents, to share information, insight and inspiration on what I believe is the most pressing issue faced by universities today: their role in society and their responsibility to help make the world a better place,” he said.

The conference, which will run from 19-22 April 2021, will be held online. More information and registration details can be found on the THE website.

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