The University of Waikato has launched a strategic partnership with Cardiff University in Wales, designed to deliver world class collaborative research and opportunities for researchers, staff and students.
The strategic partnership was formally recognised at an online event today (10 Nov), where a new seed fund was also announced, providing $240,000 a year to researchers and professional services staff from the universities for collaborative projects.
University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, says the relationship with Cardiff will enrich both staff and student opportunities at both universities and bring world class expertise from Cardiff into Waikato and New Zealand.
After initial meetings between the universities in 2019, and a small delegation from Cardiff visiting Waikato in early 2020, there have already been online seminars in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, and international guest speaker opportunities in both law and education. Researchers have also been successful in securing a BBSRC partnering award. The collaborative research aims to better understand the genomics of microbes that live in our harshest environments and has the potential to harness the power of these microorganisms to clean pollutants from our water, soil, and air.
Collaborative research focused on the intersection between AI and edge computing has also already proven fruitful between Waikato’s AI Institute and the Cardiff School of Computer Science, through research papers on AI for the Internet-of-Things and its application to rural areas.
“Our partnership has already shown what can be achieved through international collaboration between committed academics in a short space of time and during a global pandemic,” says Professor Quigley.
“There are many synergies between Waikato and Cardiff and this partnership is already enriching staff experience and research performance.”
The partnership is also expected to deliver enhanced opportunities for students, as well as opportunities in language and culture including language revitalisation, with the Welsh language considered a model for language revitalisation worldwide.
Other areas of focus include the environment encompassing climate change and the University of Waikato’s newly launched Bachelor of Climate Change, as well as engineering, management, nursing psychology and law and politics.
“This partnership builds upon and strengthens our commitment to put outward mobility and student exchange at the heart of our offering to students, while ensuring the benefits are seen and felt here in Wales,” says Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan.
“As we move out of the pandemic, it is vital that we continue to provide opportunities for students and staff to collaborate with colleagues around the world. There are many cultural and geographical ties between Wales and New Zealand, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the partnership leads to wider research, education, and civic benefits for both countries.”
The new seed fund will be open for applications in March and September each year, starting in 2022, with staff able to apply for up to $20,000 which can support travel or be used to support projects across research, teaching and learning and professional services, such as student support.
The online event featured speeches from Rt Hon Mark Drakeford MS, First Minister of Wales, Jeremy Miles MS, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Associate Minister of Education (Pacific Peoples): Hon Aupito William Sio, Grant McPherson from Education New Zealand and Laura Clarke, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to New Zealand.