A world leading university must be visible and active on the global scene. Our new Strategy 2030 leaves no doubt about that. We need the richness of perspectives that we get through international collaboration and we need to see health in a global perspective.
In the realm of research China is now snapping at USA´s heels and is on track to assume the position as the world´s number one R&D spender. We must relate to China, with the same critical attitude and the same attention to ethics, academic freedom and values that we apply to other international partners. Possibilities and challenges go hand in hand, as became abundantly clear to me on my trips earlier this year to Shanghai and Hong Kong. Please read my blog post from August, where I discuss the current situation in Hong Kong in some detail.
Fairs and events
Recently, a delegation from KI traveled to several cities in China for student recruitment fairs and networking events with KI’s alumni.
Academic Vice-President Bob Harris, supported by Nailin Li, Academic coordinator for China, Frank Chefing Ning, KI doctoral student representative, and Monika Berge, KI coordinator for KI-CSC programme, represented KI at the annual China Scholarship Council (CSC) Fairs. Currently, KI receives about 30 PhD students supported by CSC scholarship every year, and several more guest researchers and postdocs.
KI recently received a grant from STINT (the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education). The project thus supported will take a fresh look at international academic collaborations and aims to identify obstacles, ethical challenges, and success factors. The overriding goal is to improve on current models of international collaborations in order to strengthen our academic interactions with China and other international partners.
Our alumni networking activities constitute an important element of these interactions.
Megan Osler, head of KI’s alumni office, accompanied the delegation to China to organize events in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. Today, many of KI’s alumni in China work in key positions in China’s leading medical universities, governmental institutions, health care organizations, and pharma/biotech. The young generation of alumni expects bright futures, thanks to their international KI education. Building and fostering contact through alumni networks is an important tool to connect alumni back to KI, and pave the way for future exchange within the realms of education, research, and innovation.
Most international collaborations are “bottom-up”, initiated by individual researchers. This is how it must be and this is how it will continue to be in the foreseeable future. But a flourishing alumni network may help establish new contacts and help forge new collaborative links that are ideally suited to the scientific questions at hand. My vision is that KI will stand as a university known for its attention to those who consider KI as their alma mater. We are on the right track. As one KI alumnus put it in the wake of my recent travel to our collaborative partners in Singapore: “Many KI alumni in different parts of world, like myself, love to keep close link with KI via networking, regular interactions and gathering (e.g., on regional basis) for building up friendship, sharing great experience, enhancing collaborations, upholding leadership, and importantly making more contributions to KI in one way or another.”
Read more about the visit in China on KI’s website.