International partnerships in education & research
At Maastricht University, we highly value international partnerships and collaborations. They bring together different perspectives, expertise, and insights, adding value to our education and research. The vast majority of our international partnerships are created on a faculty or individual level, based on a common interest in a particular topic when it comes to research or teaching. But we also work to develop and strengthen international partnerships on a university-wide level.
International partnership networks
We are members of two university partnership networks: WUN (Worldwide University Network) and YERUN (Young European Research Universities). These networks act as:
- platforms for joint research and knowledge exchange
- student and staff mobility and exchange
- quality international partner universities for research collaborations
Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)
Maastricht University is the sole Dutch member of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). The network includes 23 research universities across six continents, from Alberta, to Cape Town, Sydney, and Hong Kong. WUN offers a platform for collaboration on education and transnational research projects. As a leading international higher education and research network, WUN is a force in developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most significant challenges that societies, governments, corporations and education are facing. It also offers a research mobility programme and a research development fund that UM researchers can use to take advantage of opportunities for cross-border collaboration.
As of January 2018, Maastricht University’s president, Prof. Dr Martin Paul, is the president of the WUN for a term lasting two years.
Young European Research Universities (YERUN)
As one of the best young universities in the world, UM is also one of the founders of the Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN), which facilitates cooperation in research, education and service to society. Its members share a number of values, which include: an orientation towards high-impact research, an emphasis on graduate employability and quality of teaching and a shared commitment to internationalisation. YERUN also offers research mobility awards for cross-border research and research workshops, which are joint conferences that facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Maastricht University’s president, Prof. Dr Martin Paul, is currently the vice-president of the YERUN network.
Mobility through partnership
The mobility of our students and staff is one of our key focus areas, in particular in collaboration with our international partner universities and networks. In our human resources policy, we strive to provide academic as well as support staff with ample opportunities for shorter or longer visits to international partner universities. In many of our programmes, too, students are encouraged or even required to study abroad for a semester.
Through the research mobility funds of YERUN and WUN, we offer our academic staff opportunities to expand their research network and foster new, innovative ideas. We’re also exploring opportunities such as students taking part in research-based learning at a partner university (e.g. MaRBLe in the Worldwide Universities Network), following an internship abroad or attending a summer school or other short-term programmes offered by partner institutions all over the world. Acknowledging the importance of professional development, our participation in programmes such as Erasmus+ creates exchange opportunities for not only students, but also our support staff, at all levels of our institution. In the coming years, more attention will also be paid to the concept of ‘virtual mobility’.
Maastricht University is a European university with a global outlook. Through our location in the heart of Europe and strategic vision on internationalisation, we actively contribute to innovative cross-border projects in the Maas-Rijn Euregion. One of the focus areas of the university is on building bridges between the south-eastern part of the Netherlands and the border areas of Germany and Belgium within the context of the Maas-Rijn Euregion, which includes the cities of Liège, Hasselt, Maastricht, Heerlen and Aachen. This region includes 3.9 million inhabitants, five universities, 19 universities of applied sciences and 110,000 students. A considerable proportion of our students and staff come from this region and, thanks to this cooperation, our graduates are also able to benefit from a multitude of excellent employment opportunities.
Maastricht University also cooperates intensively with knowledge centres, governments and companies in the region and support strategic opportunities for further internationalisation in research and education. The Brightlands campuses are an example of triple helix collaboration between the province of Limburg, the university and other educational partners, and companies. Through four specialised campuses, the Brightlands promote innovation and intersectoral cooperation in the region and beyond.
Furthermore, UM participates in a number of research centres that focus on cross-border and European issues such as:
- the Institute for Transnational and Euregional cooperation and Mobility (ITEM)
- the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials (AMIBM)
- Regenerative Medicine Crossing Borders (RegMed XB)
- the Centre of European Research in Maastricht (CERiM)
These centres serve as ‘living labs’, helping to create an innovative knowledge region of international standing, right on our doorstep.
UM's Campus Brussels is an international education and research hub for the university. It is strategically located close to the European institutions, connecting students, academics and alumni to the European professional and policy-making arenas.
It provides a space at the core of the European capital to leverage UM research expertise. The Campus Brussels acts as a research community hub to further connect UM researchers to the community of international scholars and to EU policy-makers. This, in turn, fosters synergies and creates further opportunities for international research collaboration.
The Brussels Campus also functions as a UM embassy in the ‘political heart’ of Europe. In the context of the UM’s European and international public affairs strategy, the Campus Brussels facilitates the exchange of information and expertise from UM to Brussels and vice-versa. Moreover, it further enhances UM’s European and international connections and networks. The Campus is also the first point of contact and functions as a ‘relay’ between UM staff, students, alumni and partners with Brussels stakeholders.
The teaching and training ‘pillar’ of the Campus is currently being expanded. UM Campus Brussels already offers education and training for professionals with executive courses on issues such as Data Protection and Interest Representation in the EU and with part-time PhD programmes in European Studies and in Law. The planned removal of legal restrictions to offer transnational education with a full UM-accredited degree abroad is of high strategic importance. The first steps to develop such programmes are currently being undertaken.
The United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) is a research and training institute of United Nations University, based in Maastricht. The institute, which collaborates closely with Maastricht University, explores the social, political and economic factors that drive technological innovation, with a particular focus on the creation, diffusion and access to knowledge.
Working with the UM School of Governance, UNU-MERIT also researches all aspects of governance in domestic and global organisations, from risk assessment to policy analysis, design, and evaluation. The two institutions (UM and UNU) also offer a double master’s degree in Public Policy and Human Development.
Maastricht University Centre for International Cooperation in Academic Development (MUNDO)
MUNDO facilitates partnerships between Maastricht University and institutions of higher education and research in emerging and developing countries around the world. The primary aim of these partnerships is to strengthen the educational and research capacity of our partners.
MUNDO has implemented projects in more than 20 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Most MUNDO projects involve curriculum review and development, building on UM’s role as a global leader in educational innovation, especially when it comes to Problem-Based Learning and other student-centred approaches to teaching. For these projects, MUNDO involves various UM academic and support staff and sometimes also students, which helps them to gain valuable international experience. MUNDO’s projects strengthen the international profile of the university, both in the countries where MUNDO works and in Maastricht.
Looking to the future: a European network university
Maastricht University is a European network university, an open and innovative academic community. Through our international partnerships, we create networks that bring added value to our academic community; to the local, national and international knowledge economy; and to society as a whole. Our networks run through all of our activities and connect stakeholders at many levels, from local to global. The connection of our academics with the local business community, our resonance in the heart of the European Union through our Campus Brussels and YERUN network, and our global reach in WUN and several international partnerships, are some of the defining elements of how multi-level the collaborations of our institution are.
Characterised by our open and outward approach, UM has been at the forefront of innovation in education, research and community impact, and functions as an attractive partner in the global university landscape. Through our networks and collaborations, we are developing into a uniquely positioned European institute. In the coming years, we will continue to intensify existing collaborations and remain open for promising new partnerships.