Illinois Strategic International Partnerships

Illinois Strategic International Partnerships (ISIP) coordinates relationships with a small, select group of true peer institutions around the world that are both broadly and deeply impactful—crossing departments, colleges, centers and institutes to inform and enhance our core missions of research, education, public service, and economic development.

ISIP Vision Statement

We will advance the global standing of the University of Illinois as a preeminent public research university, by creating a truly “transnational” institution, where innovative knowledge, research, education, faculty, and students move freely across borders—whether geopolitical, cultural, disciplinary, or academic.

ISIP Strategy

We will leverage existing relationships when possible—and cultivate new relationships when necessary—with a small, highly select group of true peer institutions around the world to form institutional partnerships that are both broadly and deeply impactful—crossing departments, colleges, centers and institutes to inform and enhance all of our core mission activities: research, education, public service, and economic development.

ISIP Benefits to Primary Stakeholders

Strategic International Partnerships can, and should, provide measurable benefits to our students and faculty, and to the citizens of the state of Illinois. Benefits from the partnerships envisioned in the ISIP initiative include:

  • Enhanced integration of international education experiences into core curricula at Illinois;
  • Enhanced participation by students in disciplines traditionally under-represented in study abroad (particularly in STEM disciplines where semester- or year-based study abroad often means additional time to degree);
  • Increased co-development of new courses, curricula and, eventually, dual and joint degrees;
  • Enhanced opportunities for student cohorts from Illinois and ISIP partners to come together for research, learning, national and international competitions, or topical summer institutes;
  • Increased access to significant external funding sources, both public and private, for collaborative research and education activities (e.g., European Commission Framework and Erasmus Mundus funding);
  • Enhanced potential to form truly productive multilateral consortia of university partners, building on strong existing relationships and identified synergies;
  • Enhanced ability to conduct innovative, cross-, multi-, and interdisciplinary research on “big science” questions and problems, by leveraging complementary faculty expertise and research infrastructures;
  • Increased opportunities to foster technological, commercial, and political connections for State of Illinois business and governmental interests with key foreign areas (ex. planned public housing authority informational visit to Stockholm; exchange of expertise on freight and passenger rail capacity and technology);
  • Increased opportunities for forging beneficial relations with multi-national corporations.

ISIP Approach

The central campus administration, through its senior international officer, will work with faculty and a variety of campus constituents to gather information about our existing partnerships, with the goal of identifying those with the greatest potential to be leveraged into broader strategic engagements. Once identified, modest financial support, as well as focused administrative support and oversight, will be provided as seed funding to broaden the scope of collaborative activities undertaken in the partnership. ISIP will rely on pre-defined, clearly articulated criteria and mechanisms for identifying, cultivating, evaluating, and sustaining strategic international partnerships:

Pilot Project: INSPIRE

WINNER: IIE's 2016 Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education
International Partnerships category

The pilot project of the ISIP initiative is well underway. The Illinois-Sweden Program for Educational and Research Exchange (INSPIRE), through the leadership of faculty liaisons Anna Stenport (Germanic Languages and Literatures, Scandinavian Studies) and Harry Dankowicz (Mechanical Sciences and Engineering) in cooperation with the Director of ISIP, is an ambitious project to form broad and deep engagements with the three leading institutions of higher education in Stockholm, Sweden: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University, and the Karolinska Institutet. The foundational relationship with KTH is already well-established, with faculty from our Colleges of Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Fine and Applied Arts, and Media all working directly on collaborative research and education projects with counterparts at KTH. For additional details, please explore the INSPIRE website.

BRIDGE: Birmingham–Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement and Education

In March 2014 the University of Birmingham and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign formed the BiRmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, EnGagement and Education (BRIDGE) creating a framework for continued collaboration and investment to grow the strategic partnership between the two institutions, and formally launching the second ISIP strategic partnership project. The BRIDGE partnership recognizes the breadth and depth of faculty connections that have flourished over the last four years. Engagement currently spans over 25 established faculty-to-faculty links in 14 key academic disciplines. The BRIDGE framework aims to deepen these existing collaborations and develop wider faculty networks to: build cognate research areas; expand educational exchange opportunities; and strengthen strategic aspirations for institutional engagement. To this end, the institutions have established a joint BRIDGE Project Seed Fund which permanent members of staff at each institution are encouraged to apply.

Illinois Strategic International Partnerships (ISIP) seeks proposals from faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for in support of BRIDGE, to initiate new collaborative research, education, or engagement projects with colleagues at the University of Birmingham, or to expand upon existing collaborations.

Additional information can be found in the guidelines and application.


February 28, 2016

Inaugural NTU-UIUC Global Issues Forum April 11 & 12, Taipei