UI, Sweden universities to collaborate

URBANA — University of Illinois officials and leaders from three of Sweden's leading universities signed an agreement Thursday that calls for continued cooperation among the institutions in research, education and civic programs.

The letter of intent essentially calls for the universities to form an alliance and it sets forth a series of desired outcomes, such as increased collaboration, said Tim Barnes, director of the Illinois Strategic International Partnerships in the Office of the Associate Provost for International Affairs.

In addition to Urbana chancellor Phyllis Wise, those signing the agreement included Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, president of Karolinska Institutet; Peter Gudmundson, president of KTH Royal Institute of Technology; and Kare Bremer, vice chancellor of Stockholm University.

The UI has been working with the technical institute and Stockholm University in recent years and had been exploring a similar partnership with Karolinska Institutet, a medical school, Barnes said. The UI sponsored a summit this week and about 30 education and civic leaders from Sweden and the U.S. attended.

The Urbana campus has about 350 active "institutional linkages" with other colleges and universities around the world. Most focus on collaborations and projects between individual faculty members or researchers, Barnes said.

INSPIRE, the Illinois-Sweden Program for Educational and Research Exchange, is more of a "comprehensive strategic partnership," he said.

Student exchanges, including a student competition on "Innovation for Smart Cities," are planned, as well as joint lectures in topics such as urban planning and computing. This summer, a co-taught, Illinois and KTH course will take place in Stockholm and in the Arctic, looking at environment and society in the changing Arctic.

In addition to partnerships among the universities, the program envisions collaborations between the city and surrounding area of Stockholm with the state of Illinois, in topics such as high-speed rail, sustainability and public health.

More information: http://www.inspire.illinois.edu

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