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EAIE award

Recognition for international approach to tackling global challenges

Published on: 21 August 2023

Newcastle University has won a prestigious award for its outstanding approach to internationalisation in higher education.

The award for Excellence in Internationalisation recognises how the University is empowering staff and students to harness international research and learning opportunities that tackle social and environmental injustice.

Presented by the European Association for International Education (EAIE), judges highlighted the breadth of the University’s international activities, praising the innovative way these are connected with sustainability and inclusivity.

Projects have included developing an inclusive mobility offer, working with international partners to positively impact United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and creating unique student internships committed to social and environmental justice.

Professor Chris Day, Vice-Chancellor and President at Newcastle University, said: ‘We pride ourselves on being a truly global institution and so to win this prestigious award from the EAIE is an honour and testament to the strength of our international learning community.’

The University also hosted a summer symposium with NUWEE academics and PhD students to explore research and collaboration between the two institutions.
The University hosted a summer symposium with NUWEE academics and PhD students to explore research and collaboration.

Creating global opportunities

A Global Top 110 university (QS World University Rankings 2024) with campuses in Newcastle, Singapore and Malaysia, Newcastle University is home to 29,000 students from 140 countries. It has 5-QS Stars 2023 credentials in both inclusiveness and internationalisation.

As part of an International Mobility Strategic Plan, the University has increased the scale of international opportunities through study and work exchanges, global internships, research placements, and summer schools. This is providing greater access to career-building opportunities and skills development including cross-cultural understanding, languages and adaptability.

A Virtual Exchange scheme has been introduced to make the international experience available to all, without the need to travel. Significant investment in a Global Scholarships scheme is widening student participation across the full range of mobility options.

Examples of further initiatives include the launch of a new Global Education, Experience and Community project aimed at improving the international student experience and supporting all students and staff to make the most of global opportunities.

More broadly, the University’s commitment to internationalisation is helping to positively influence students’ overall educational attainment and graduate outcomes.

Putting inclusivity into action

Newcastle University has a long-standing commitment to providing a welcoming place of safety for all and was awarded University of Sanctuary status in 2021.

Initiatives have included a sanctuary café, access to additional scholarship funding and free online sanctuary training for staff and students. Reflecting the University’s strong social justice focus,  student-led North East Solidarity & Teaching (NEST) works with refugees and asylum seekers, offering English language tuition and community integration support.

More recently, Newcastle University partnered with Ukraine’s National University of Water and Environmental Engineering (NUWEE) through the UK–Ukraine Twinning Initiative.

Supported by Universities UK International, the scheme allows universities around the world to support Ukrainian institutions, fostering meaningful and long-lasting relationships for the future.

As part of its five-year commitment, Newcastle University has been sharing teaching and research practices, established fully-funded student exchange places and provided free online English language classes. The University also hosted a summer symposium with NUWEE academics and PhD students to explore research and collaboration between the two institutions.

In addition, Newcastle University’s Centre of Research Excellence for Water held a Summer School for NUWEE delegates and worked with the institution to successfully bid for a research grant. This will fund the development of a programme of academic collaboration supporting the regeneration and recovery of Ukrainian cities and its people.

Professor Ievgenii Gerasimov, NUWEE project lead, said: ‘We believe that, using the experience of Newcastle University colleagues, we will apply modern methods and approaches to the processes of rebuilding Ukraine not only after the war but also in the nearest months.’

Building a sustainable future

Ranked top 25 in the world for its commitment to sustainable development in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023, Newcastle University is also 6th in the world under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal Goal 11 ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’.

Embedding the UNSDGs across the University’s curriculum, engagement, and research activities has opened up global opportunities.

Initiatives have included student internships with the Ambassador of Barbados to the United Nations in Geneva which resulted in additional research funding for climate change education projects in Mauritius and Barbados.

The University is now in the process of applying for collaborative funding on two Centres for Blue Economy with partners across a number of Small Island Developing States.

Within the last year, Newcastle University also formalised its partnership with US-based social justice International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC).

The non-profit brings together historic sites, museums and memory initiatives across 65 countries, using the lessons of the past to find innovative solutions to related social justice issues today.

Through the partnership, the University has launched a virtual and in-person student internship programme offering unique, place-focused experiences worldwide.

Muhammed Topdas, Media, Culture and Heritage PhD student, completed an internship at the War Childhood Museum, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The world’s only museum focused exclusively on childhood affected by war, it is an international platform for survivors of armed conflicts to tell their stories with dignity.

Mohammed said: ‘It's been a privilege to be part of this ICSC internship. Understanding resilience against tyranny and cruelty through the eyes of war-affected children was an inspiring experience.’

Award presentation

Now in their 20th year, the European Association for International Education awards celebrate higher education institutions that have developed and implemented creative responses to global issues.

Newcastle University will receive its Excellence in Internationalisation award at the annual EAIE Conference and Exhibition in Rotterdam in September. Europe's most comprehensive higher education event, it will be attended by thousands of professionals from around the world.




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