Vanderbilt's International Core Partner Strategy
The Vanderbilt International Strategy of 2005, endorsed by the Chancellor and the Provost, calls for the establishment of "broad and profound institutional partnerships with a small number of peer institutions in strategic locations throughout the world." Since early 2006, the Advisory Council for International Affairs has identified a select group of potential core partners for Vanderbilt, focusing on the three key criteria of research prominence (world-class strengths in areas similar to Vanderbilt's), disciplinary breadth (at least five counterparts to VU's ten Schools), and strategic location (in terms of geopolitics, economics, and accessibility). A core partnership agreement also requires strong commitment by the partner's academic leadership to devote sufficient financial and other resources to fostering these research collaborations and other cooperation among their students and administrative staff. These expectations necessarily restrict the number of core partnerships that Vanderbilt can reasonably support. On this basis, Vanderbilt has entered into core partnerships with the following institutions:
- Fudan University (China)
South Asia & Pacific
- University of Melbourne (Australia)
- University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Latin America & the Caribbean
The primary goals of a core partnership are to foster valuable research collaboration, create new educational opportunities for students, and enhance each partner's institutional presence and academic reputation abroad.
Research and scholarship form the foundation of the partnerships, therefore, the most prominent and immediate benefits are those for faculty members and students (especially at the graduate or professional level), namely,
- Financial and logistical support from home and partner institutions in starting or furthering important research collaborations;
- Access to public and private funding as well as publishing and other scholarly networks in the partner country;
- Access to governmental and corporate contacts in the partner country and region;
- More thorough integration of international research teams and labs, particularly in the sciences, through mobility of researchers and students;
- International publicity for joint research projects.
Administrative staff members will likewise benefit from opportunities for personnel exchange and cross-training or internships at the core partner institutions. Cooperation in a number of other areas, including public service and performance arts, is also anticipated. Finally, each core partner university benefits in general by having a strong ally in a key part of the world, able to assist the other in a variety of academic, political, and economic contexts.
Forms of Collaboration
The form of research collaboration and cooperation will naturally vary widely by discipline, topic, and individual interests. Faculty and students from all disciplines are encouraged to explore exchanges with the core partner of a few days or weeks to one year and to that end the Vanderbilt International Office (VIO) has established a small grants program, with awards ranging from $4,000-15,000 per application (see VIO Grants Program). Our core partners have established similar funding incentives.The main selection criteria are: enhancement of existing scholarship, mobility of participants, and sustainability of the proposed collaboration. Other forms of collaboration with core partners might take the form of joint symposia or conferences, joint courses, joint or dual degree programs, and joint institutes or centers. In some instances, one or both of the core partners may wish to devote significant funding to an initiative, but in most cases the universities will provide the seed money and infrastructure for projects, with an expectation of external funding in the long-term.