USF Forum Focuses on Future of International Research Collaboration

Event brought together academic researchers, worldwide research agencies and U.S. State Department officials

USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (April 14, 2013) – The challenging landscape of financing high-level academic and scientific research will require the world’s nations to strike new partnerships and collaborations. With those goals in mind, USF World hosted the interactive forum Developing Institutional Strategies for Growing Global Research this week, drawing senior leadership from universities across the globe to develop new strategies for successful international research efforts.

Sponsored by the Association of International Education Administrators, the forum offered faculty and students an opportunity to learn about international funding sources from representatives from more than 20 agencies and organizations. For some organizations, such as a delegation from China's National Natural Science Foundation - the equivalent of the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health – it is a rare event to participate in a research strategy event at an American university.

USF hosted the event in partnership with the University of North Texas, which last year opened the conversation in a forum which focused on the importance of expanding global research cooperation, the competitiveness of American faculty and students in securing global research funding; and understanding the challenges and opportunities in creating a culture of globally-integrated research.

This week’s event involved more than 40 universities will take the conversation further to help begin drafting policies at university and national levels that will support such collaborations.

“This conference represents a key, focused conversation among research universities to bring together a large cadre of senior university officials from research and international offices to actively discuss how to effectively promote globally engaged and funded research,” said Kiki Caruson, USF World’s Assistant Vice President for Research, Innovation and Global Affairs.

“We're not just talking at each other, we're talking with public agencies: the U. S. State Department and the National Science Foundation private industry, non-profits, and international agencies. We share the vision that globally informed inquiry and innovation will provide answers to today's greatest challenges.

“This isn't just USF's mission - it is a mission shared by institutions of higher education worldwide.”

The event featured conversations with two key advisers at the U.S. State Department: Bill Colglazier, the chief advisor to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on science and technology; and Libby Lyons, senior science and technology advisor with the State Department on detail from the National Science Foundation. Those conversations will be instrumental in developing future international policies to support international collaboration on academic research, organizers said.

The issue is one that is beginning to dominate conversations on the future of higher education, Caruson said. The topic of integrating the work of universities’ research and international offices will be center stage at the 2014 Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ summer meeting, considered one of the premier agenda-setting conventions in higher education.

“This conference is certain to kick-start a much larger conversation that will include not just the federal government but state governments as well, and private industry which is dependent on a workforce that understands how to navigate in a globalized world,” Caruson said. “Getting research ‘right’ is fundamental to many of the other aspirations of not only a university such as USF, but to the global community.”

The nature of research and discovery has become increasing global, said Rick Nader, Vice Provost for International Affairs at the University of North Texas, USF’s partner in the event. Yet, universityresearchers and graduate studentsrely on funding agencies that are nationally-focused.

“There are research opportunities worldwide, but few schools have a strategic approach to capitalize on these,” said Thomas McCoy, the University of North Texas’ Vice President for Research and Economic Development. “This forum offers an opportunity to launch a national discussion on the challenges and solutions to developing a strategic global research plan for U.S. universities.”

While U.S.federal funding for research and development has been flat in recent years, other nations have more than doubled their research spending and look to continue to grow their research infrastructure and enterprise. Nader said that means the best published research is likely to come from global collaborators.

In February 2013, UNT hosted the initial meeting. This year, the event has attracted funding from five major organizations that have embraced the idea that global capacities and collaborations will define the next generation of great researchinstitutions, he said.

For more information on the forum, visit