Representatives from Brazilian universities are in Belfast this week to link up with their Northern Ireland counterparts.
Senior academics from Brazilian’s top universities are here as part of a UK-wide visit to seek out long-term academic partnerships and find out more about our Higher Education Sector.
The visit, which is organised by the British Council in conjunction with ABRUEM (Brazilian Association of State and Municipal Universities), follows on from a similar visit in 2014, when a previous Brazilian delegation came to Northern Ireland.
Monday (June 13) saw the delegation discover what Ulster University had to offer, which included tours of the Ulster Business School Financial Innovation Lab, a presentation on Ulster’s International Profile and a tour of their Nanotechnology and Integrated BioEngineering Centre.
The day ended with a welcome reception at Belfast City Hall, hosted by the newly-elected Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, who commented:
“One of the themes of my year in office will be increasing our international connections – something which, in turn, supports another of my objectives, which is the inclusive growth of our city’s economy.
“The work of the British Council in fostering global collaboration through educational and cultural exchange programmes such as this undoubtedly is of huge benefit, especially when it comes to helping us to get the foot in the door of new and emerging markets, from which we can benefit through co-operation in fields of mutual interest.”
While yesterday, (June 14), the group headed to Queen’s University to meet with Research and Enterprise, the Global Research Institutes and the Research Institute in Medicine, Health & Life Sciences.
Speaking about the visit was Professor Richard Millar, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Planning, Partnerships and International Affairs at Ulster University.
He said: “Ulster University has a global reputation for research excellence. Our collaboration with international higher education partners is vital to developing cutting-edge research that addresses global challenges in everything from public health and the built environment to business innovation and social policy.
“The University has already developed close partnerships with Brazilian universities, for example over the past five years our Biomedical Sciences Research Institute has been working closely with the Advanced Institute of Technology and Innovation (IATI) at the Catholic University of Pernambuco, Brazil to explore the potential industrial applications of biosurfactants. We have also been pioneering mental health and trauma research with universities in São Paulo and Espírito Santo.
“There are huge opportunities for research collaboration in many more areas including biotechnology and sustainable technologies. We look forward to further strengthening the partnerships between Ulster University and universities across Brazil.”
Isabel Jennings, Director of Marketing, Recruitment, Communications and Internationalisation, at Queen’s University Belfast, also added: “Queen’s has a proud history of collaboration with Brazil and we were delighted to welcome such a high-level and informed delegation to the University. We look forward to continuing to build on our relationship with our Brazilian partners through the valuable opportunities presented by the British Council’s Newton and GREAT Challenge Funds.”
According to Claudio Anjos, Director of Education and Society at British Council Brazil, it is vital to strengthen these institutional links.
He said: “Northern Ireland has a lot to offer Brazil. We share a lot of cultural similarities, with both countries excelling in areas such as agriculture and the medical science, and it’s a great place for Brazilian students to come with two top universities.
“We hope to build on what is already in place with the Brazilian Science Without Borders programme. We can strengthen international links through research collaborations and training Brazilian researchers in Northern Ireland.”
Also speaking about the mission was Jonathan Stewart Deputy Director of British Council Northern Ireland, who said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our universities and other local stakeholders to meet Vice Chancellors from Brazilian universities who are interested in developing research partnerships and exploring opportunities for student exchange between Brazil and Northern Ireland.”
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. For more information visit nireland.britishcouncil.org, follow on Twitter - BCouncil_NI or Facebook