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QS University Rankings: Emerging Europe and Central Asia 2014 Launch, Budapest

The first ranking of its kind, it was launched in a stunning city of Budapest nearing Christmas, on the 17th of December. We evaluated 368 universities from the region and published the Top 100, where 18 countries were represented.

The event was a success with over 90 delegates representing over 40 different organisations from 15 different countries. It was a very busy day filled with presentations from a variety of stakeholders, revelation of the rankings results, a panel discussion, a masterclass on rankings and even some Hungarian folk dancing!

We were hosted by one of the oldest and largest institutions in Hungary, Eotvos Lorand University. They proved to be a fantastic host with a beautiful university:

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Our audience was well-prepared, inquisitive and engaged. We received a fantastic presentation from Bogazici University in Turkey sharing reasons behind their success in the rankings. There was a lot of interest and the questions asked were insightful and often challenging demonstrating that rankings are now much better understood and the demands from the audience are higher.

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QS Directors met President of Shanghai Jiaotong University

On 28th November, 2014, QSIU Directors met Prof. Zhang Jie, the President of Shanghai Jiaotong University in London, during the UK trip of Prof. Zhang.

Prof. Zhang is the youngest President ever appointed to lead Shanghai Jiaotong University, an internationally known university, one of the top 5 in China, based on the QS World University Ranking.

 

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(Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit, President Zhang Jie, President of Shanghai Jiaotong University, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director of QS Intelligence Unit met on 28th November, 2014 in London, UK)

 

The meeting took place in Imperial Colleges London, a university President Zhang who also visited on the day. Mr. Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang,China Director, QSIU, met President Zhang, who was accompanied by a senior leader of the university.

It is the first time that any QSIU leaders meet President of Shanghai University. Therefore, President Zhang gave a brief introduction about the university’s history, its strategic focus and its dedication to internationalisation, innovation and cross-discipline research. President Zhang also discussed one of a recent article he was invited to contribute to Nature on 15th October 2014 on “Developing excellence: Chinese university reform in three steps“.

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(President Zhang Jie shared his views about Chinese universities reform, as part of the article he recently published on Nature.)

 

Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit congratulated President Zhang on his all the achievement Shanghai Jiaotong University have achieved under his leadership, and responded with a brief overview of the key areas of work QSIU covers to support international strategy of universities worldwide, especially The Wharton-QS Stars Awards 2014: Reimagine Education, which President Zhang was interested in submitting entries for next year’s intake.

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(Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit, talked about the Reimagine Higher Education Competitor to President Zhang Jie,of Shanghai Jiaotong University.)

The meeting lasted for about 1 hour, with President Zhang extended an invite for QS leaders to visit him again in Shanghai in the near future.

 

 

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QS Invited to attend lectures featuring 2 Top Chinese Universities Presidents

On 27th November, 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, was invited to attend 2 lectures at Oxford University.

This lecture featuring speeches by the presidents of two leading universities in China, Prof. Peng Long, President of Beijing Foreign Studies University and Prof. Zhang Jie, President of Shanghai Jiaotong University.

(A photo of St Anne College, Oxford University)

 

The event took place at St Anne’s College, Oxford University. Being one of Oxford’s largest colleges, with some 420 undergraduates and 250 graduates, St Anne’s College aims to “prepare the students for the globally connected society of the future“. Maybe, there could not be a better place in Oxford to host those two distinguished Presidents of Chinese leading Universities.

There are about 100 Chinese students and staff who are studying/working at Oxford who attended the lectures. Besides leading Chinese media organisations based in the UK, QS is only external organisations invited to this interesting event.

Founded in 1941, the Beijing Foreign Studies University  is the first foreign language university and offering the most language programs in the China. It is a small and specialised university, with only 7,000 registered students(5,000 are full-time undergraduates, 1,000 graduate students, and 1,000  overseas students). However, being the top Chinese universities specialised in foreign language cultivation(teaching 58 languages). By 2020, BFSU plans to teach 70 languages, with the ultimate goal of 90. With 80,000 alumni, more than 400 graduates become ambassadors, 1000 graduates become counsellors and therefore BFSU is dubbed the “diplomat’s cradle” of China.

The event started with President Peng Long talking on “The Chinese Economic Transformation- Characteristics of the Third Waves of Chinese Economic Reform”. President Peng is a known expert in China on International Finance and Stock Investment. He is also the Vice Chairman of China Association of International Trade, which is the professional body for experts in China on international trade.

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(President Peng Long, Beijing Foreign Studies University spoke on  “The Chinese Economic Transformation- Characteristics of the Third Waves of Chinese Economic Reform” at Oxford University)

 

He was very charismatic, he started his speech with a joke, “although I was responsible for one of the most prestigious Chinese universities on foreign language studies, I myself is not good at speaking English. I was too nervous last night to fall asleep because I was so busy practising my speech in English. I was much more relieved that I was told earlier that I could speak Chinese”, everyone in the lecture broke into laughters. President Peng, gave a very brave and frank speech to the audience, on his understanding of all the major economic reforms since the foundation of the PRC, especially the opening-up of the 1978, as well as the latest proposal of the Central Chinese Government to upgrade its industrial structure to be more innovation and knowledge driven. The audience was very impressed by his speech, some of the current Oxford students even start to ask questions to the President about how to become a staff of the university when they finished their studies at Oxford!

 

The ranking of BFSU in QS World University Ranking 2012 Arts and Humanity was 177,BRICS 2014 rankings was 87

 

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director enjoyed an interesting conservation with Prof. Peng Long, BFSU President on the international strategy. President Peng was surprised to find that Dr. Christina Yan Zhang was from Nanjing-a city where he had been working for a long time during his academic career. He extended an invitation to Dr. Christina Yan Zhang and asked her to visit him and other senior leaders of Beijing Foreign Studies University when she was in Beijing again. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang accepted the invite and wish President Peng every success in his role leading the university to an unprecedented new height.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, enjoyed an interesting discussion with Prof. Peng Long, President, Beijing Foreign Studies University on the international strategy.)

The second speaker of the day is Prof. Zhang Jie, the President of Shanghai Jiaotong University, a top 5 Chinese university(based on QS World University Ranking )who gave a speech on “University Governance: the people-oriented incentives system ”.  Dr. Christina Yan Zhang also enjoyed a great conversation with Prof. Zhang Jie, who kindly agreed to meet her and Ben Sowter, Head of QS Intelligence Unit the following day in London despite packed timetable flying back home in China.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, as an invited VIP guest that night, was introduced to Prof. Zhang Jie, President, Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of the top Chinese mainland universities.)

All the VIPs guests invited took a group photo together with 2 universities presidents and promised to stay in touch for future collaborations.mmexport1418208673871

 

 

 

 

 

QS University Rankings:Asia 2013

Best Student Cities 2015

The QS Best Student Cities 2015 index was released today. Paris remains in top place, with a number of ranked universities and as a hub of employer activity. It also performed well on the Student Mix and Desirability indicators.

The Australian city of Melbourne, climbed up the ranking from fifth place to take second place, outperforming London who held this position last year. Melbourne has a number of ranked universities and scored the highest of any city for its diverse student mix. Being rated by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Ranking as on of the most liveable cities in the world, Melbourne scored well on the Desirability indicator. It also scored strongly on Employer Activity. Like the other Australian cities in the index, Melbourne scored less well on the Affordability indicator.

London slipped to third place, scoring lower than many other cities on Desirability and struggling on the Affordability indicator. London however holds its place in the top three due to the high concentration of top ranked universities, as the top city in the world on the Employer activity indicator and with a strong student mix.

Having studied in both Melbourne and London, I have found them both great cities to study and live in. There are things that I have loved about being a student in both of these cities that aren’t perhaps so easily captured by the indicators of the index. I loved Melbourne’s thriving arts scene, fantastic café-culture, and multi-ethnic character. London on the other hand is a bustling global hub of business and culture – home to some of the world’s greatest cultural institutions, with a fascinating history, eclectic nightlife, and a wonderful melange of diversity. This mix of experiences wonderfully enhanced the formal education I was receiving.

There are numerous factors that students consider when choosing where to study, and the QS Best Student Cities is one of the tools that students may use to help them find what’s most important to them. Check out the full results.

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Pilot Arab Region Ranking Launched

QS have launched a pilot ranking of Arab Region universities today.

Extensive consultation has been undertaken with university leaders in the region to identify a suitable methodology – over 100 academics attended a QS methodology fact finding meeting in Abu Dhabi in May 2014. This first, pilot edition is based on the nine criteria – Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Faculty Student Ratio, International Faculty, International Students, Staff with PhD, Web Impact, Papers per Faculty and Citations per Paper. Further information on the methodology can be found here.

We are considering adding a tenth indicator in future editions – Arabic language papers per faculty – as a standalone criterion, but are still working with partners to be able to verify the accuracy, reach and robustness of this measure from available sources.

See the results of the 2014 ranking.

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QS Founder met Peking University Chairman

On 5th November 2014, Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds, and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit were invited to meet Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council.

Peking University

Peking University is one of the most prestigious universities in mainland China. It was founded in 1898 as a replacement of the ancient GuoZiJian-the Imperial College, which is the highest educational administration in feudal China. Ever since its foundation, Peking University has consistently played a leading role in forming progressive thoughts for China and have been influential in many major Chinese events in history, including China’s New Culture Movement, May Fourth Movement, just to name a few.

Nowadays, Peking University has been widely recognised as China’s top university in many different domestic and international universities rankings. For example, Peking University was ranked No. 57 in the 2014 QS World University Ranking, No.2 in QS BRICS Universities Ranking, and No. 8 in QS Asian University Ranking.

Peking University is located on the former site of Qing Dynasty royal gardens and retains Chinese-style landscaping as well as many traditional buildings. It is known for having one of the most beautiful campuses in mainland China.

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(The beautiful campus of Peking University)

It is not the first time that QS leaders have visited Peking University. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit has met President Wang EnGe and other senior leaders of Peking University a few times before at Peking University. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang was also invited to join universities presidents, vice-chancellors from more than 20 countries in May 2014 to participate in a high level summit hosted by Peking University on the future of cultivating innovative talents around the world.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Prof. Wang EnGe, President of Peking University)

The way Dr. Christina Yan Zhang got to know Chairman Zhu Shan Lu was a bit unusual. At a previous meeting with senior leaders of Peking University in June 2014, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang met an old gentleman who came downstairs to the VIP meeting room to check if the room was available. Christina said Hi to the old gentleman without knowing who he was. The old gentleman asked Christina if the room was available for meeting now. Christina said unfortunately not, because she was asked to stay in the room for a meeting with senior leaders of Peking University. Christina introduced herself and QS, as one of the world’s top 3 most influential world university rankings, to the old gentlemen and gave him her business card. Interestingly enough, the old gentleman warmly welcomed the presence of Dr. Christina Yan Zhang to Peking University and showed strong interest in the work of QS.

He said to Dr. Christina Yan Zhang that he would like to see Peking University working closely with QS to implement the UN’s millennium Goal to develop universities to suit the future needs of the world. The old gentleman kindly insisted that Dr. Christina Yan Zhang to stay in the VIP meeting room to wait for her hosts in the university for meeting, while he turn around and asked a young gentleman standing behind to find an alternative meeting room nearby. The old gentleman was very much enjoying talking to Christina that he extended his personal invite to get other senior leaders of QS to visit Peking University soon to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Throughout the process, this old gentleman did not introduce himself to Christina at all. Out of curiosity, Christina asked the two waitresses standing outside the VIP rooms who the old gentleman was. The two waitress told Christina that he was Chairman Zhu Shan Lu, the No. 1 leader in Peking University (more important than President Wang Engge) who enjoyed the same political rank as the Chinese Minister of Education). That is how the two get to know each other.

When meeting again, Chairman Zhu Shao Lu thanked Dr. Christina Yan Zhang for keeping her promise and brought the founder of QS to Peking University for discussion on collaborations.

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(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit met Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council.)

Unlike Christina, it is the first time that Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder of QS visited this top university in China. Nunzio was very grateful towards Chairman Zhu for inviting him to visit Peking University. He started talking about his education experience as a bachelor student of Cambridge University and started to praise Peking University for having such beautiful campus which reminded him of his great university time study in Cambridge. Chairman Zhu Shanlu thought very highly of the work QS has been doing over the decades to assist the international strategy of universities worldwide through a wide range of data-driven services and research.

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(Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds, and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, and Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council met to discussed a wide range of potential partnership opportunities between two organisations.)

The meeting lasted for more than one hour, both leaders enjoyed the meeting too much that Chairman Zhu was half an hour late for his following meeting. Vice President Prof. Li Yan Song, Dr. Zheng Ru Qing,Deputy Director, Office Of International Relations, Dr. Yan Chun Hua, Deputy Registrar, and other senior leaders of Peking University also participated in the meeting.

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(A group photo of all the leaders from QS and Peking University who participated in the meeting. From Left to right: Dr. Guo Cong Bing, Deputy Director, Office of the Chairman& President, Peking University; Prof. Li Yan Song, Vice President, Peking University, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit; Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director, QS; Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Council, Peking University; Dr. Yan Chun Hua, Deputy Registrar; Dr. Zheng Ru Qing, Deputy Director, Office Of International Relations)

A wide range of partnership opportunities have been discussed and agreed at the meeting. Both sides are very pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council also presented a gift from Peking University to Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds, and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit to thank QS for the visit.

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(Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council gave the gift to Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of QS, and Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit)

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IMG_1797(Nunzio Quacquarelli, founder and Managing Director of Quacquarelli Symonds, and Mr. Zhu Shan Lu, Chairman of Peking University Council holding hands together in the air, aim to build a close partnership between QS and Peking University. )

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Ground breaking research through collaboration

The benefits of multi-university research are evident now more than ever. The collaborative efforts of University College London’s institute of neurology and Wroclaw Medical University have birthed a pioneering treatment for spinal injuries. Darek Fidyka, a Bulgarian made paralysed from the waist down following a knife attack, was the first person to receive this treatment. Professor Geoffrey Raisman, whose team at UCL institute of neurology discovered the technique, said: “We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which, as it is further developed, will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”[1]

The surgery was performed by a Polish team led by one of the world’s top spinal repair experts, Dr Pawel Tabakow, from Wroclaw Medical University. This collaborative effort has resulted in a world-first medical breakthrough in paralysis treatment. While both medical experts drew upon their respective strengths and skill, the economics at play present a sound argument for this type of collaboration. This British-funded research would have been cheaper to carry out in Poland in comparison to the UK. Higher operation costs could have potentially slowed down the pace of the treatment as additional funding would have had to be sourced and medical red-tape might have hampered the surgery altogether. This form of collaboration could set a future precedent for UK – Eastern European research.

Details of the research are published in the journal Cell Transplantation.


[1] The Guardian (2014) Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after pioneering surgery, http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/21/paralysed-darek-fidyka-pioneering-surgery#start-of-comments

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2014 International Trends and Enrolment Patterns in UK

The latest report of the ‘Universities UK’s Higher education in focus’ published by Universities UK (UUK), revealed the most recent international student trends and enrolment patterns in UK Higher Education Institutions. Attracting prospective international students is of vital importance principally because international students are a strong income feed for UK universities in a time of post-crisis fiscal constraints and increasingly competitive funding frameworks: over 2012-2013, almost 12.1% of total UK university income was derived from non-EU student tuition fees. International students, furthermore, also bring economic benefits to local economies in UK cities, namely, 18% of all jobs generated by the higher education sector. Nonetheless, overall levels of non-EU student immigration to the UK has been falling since 2011. Although the trend in higher education enrolments have shown only a marginal decline, it is significant because the number of students seeking to study overseas is growing and the patterns and motives of student choices is gradually changing.

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Responses to UKK survey: Change in Number of new entrants in 2013-2014 compared to 2012-2013

Main trends highlighted in the UUK report:

  • By 2013 the number of overseas students arriving in the UK fell. Other main English-speaking destination countries, United States, Canada and Australia, have all witnessed an increase in the number of overseas applicants.
  • UK universities have reported a growth in overseas entrants for 2013-14, but Scotland showed an overall decline in all levels of study.
  • There is a clear split between a growth in students applying from the East Asia and Pacific region compared to the Indian subcontinent and parts of the Middle East like Saudi Arabia.
  • South-east Asian markets (China, Malaysia and Hong Kong) are growing but they follow different trends: the most demanded studies for Chinese students are in postgraduate studies in business and administration whereas Hong Kong students apply for undergraduate programs.

The report also stresses an important element that UK universities need to be specially attentive to. According to the 2014 NUS survey of international students already in the UK, the majority feel unwelcome, and a significant number would not recommend the UK as a study destination to their friends or relatives [1]. This negative word-of-mouth effect derived from the lived experiences of students might contribute further to the decline of the UK as a preferable study destination. More bad news in the report are the results from IDP international Student Buyer Behaviour Research 2013. In this study, the UK was rated as the worst destination among the Top 5 English-speaking destinations (US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) in terms of perceived graduate employment opportunities, and fourth in terms of student visa requirements/policies [2]. Finally QSIU Whitepaper on Globalization, Mobility and Rankings, adds that working on international cooperation can make border more accessible and it can impact upon immigration frameworks [3]. The reports paint a tense scenarios in a globalizing world where fluid movement is necessary, as with trade: the UK has seemingly less to offer to international students, and the postgraduate employment opportunities for non-EU graduates is likewise a key factor affecting the overall brand engagement and attractiveness of UK universities. Therefore, in order to secure a return to growth, the study recommends launching an international student growth strategy which would communicate a consistent message, namely, that the UK is a welcoming destination to international students and that post-study work opportunities exist independent of any net migration target.

[1] National Union of Students (NUS) http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/press-releases/international-students-feel-unwelcome-in-uk-as-immigration-bill-set-to-create-new-barriers-to-study/

[2] IDP International Student Buyer Behaviour Research 2013 http://www.uk.idp.com/PDF/101372_IDP_MEL_Buyer_210x595mm_Infographics_V04.pdf

[3] QS Intelligence Unit: Globalisation, Mobility & Rankings. September 2014.

Park Guell views of Barcelona

The Spanish Resurrection

For the past few years Universities in Southern Europe had deeply suffered the consequences of the world financial crisis. As most Spanish universities rely mainly on public funding, the Higher Education industry has been particularly affected by the consequences of the budget cuts.

However, the latest edition of the QS World University Ranking shows that Spanish universities are doing its best to overcome the adversities. In general terms, they are performing better for a second year in a row. In the top we find the Catalan flagship universities; the historical University of Barcelona (UB), which this year has progressed from 178 to 166, followed by the Autonomous University of Barcelona; which went up from the 177 position to 173.

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Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Japan funds 37 top universities to improve at global university rankings

The Japanese government has announced additional funding for a selection of 37 public, private and national universities in order to strengthen their international competitiveness. According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology Japan, the country has almost 800 universities (77% of them being private, 12% public and 11% national) and 104 applied to be considered for this government initiative. Currently there are 5 Japanese universities in the 2014 QS World University Rankings while Japan develops the ambition to have 10 Japanese universities in this global top 100 university rankings. These 37 universities will be divided into two groups.

The first group “Type A”, formed of 13 universities representing the country’s top research and education institutions will focus on increasing the number of international professors and promoting cooperation with prestigious universities around the world.

The institutions are:

  • National universities: Hiroshima University, Hokkaido University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Nagoya University, Osaka University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tohoku University, University of Tokyo, University of Tsukuba.
  • Private universities: Keio University, Waseda University.

The second group “Type B” has 24 universities and the aim for these institutions will be to lead globalization efforts.

  • National universities: Chiba University, Kanazawa University, Kumamoto University, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Nagaoka University of Technology, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Okayama University, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Toyohashi University of Technology.
  • Public universities: Akita International University, University of Aizu.
  • Private universities: Hosei University, International Christian University, International University of Japan, Kwansei Gakuin University, Meiji University, Rikkyo University, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Ritsumeikan University, Shibaura Institute of Technology, Soka University, Sophia University, Toyo University.

Each of the 13 Type A universities will receive about ¥420 million (USD 3.9 million) in annual subsidies and each of the 24 Type B universities about ¥170 million (USD 1.6 million) over the next decade. Each institution is expected to implement its own plan for internationalization. For example, University of Tsukuba announced it aims to carry a Campus-to-Campus initiative, enabling partner institutions to share campuses with Tsukuba and respective research and educational resources without any national or institutional barriers.

More information on The Japan News.