Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)

The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is a leading global higher education and research network of 25 universities across 6 continents. Maastricht University has been a member of the WUN since 2013. The WUN drives international research collaboration and the development of research talent, and contributes to developing innovative solutions to some of the most significant challenges that the world, globally and locally everywhere, is facing.

  WUN in short 
  Benefits of the WUN membership for UM researchers
  WUN representatives at UM
  WUN Research Development Fund
  WUN Early Career Researchers Webinars
  Join the WUN Hub
  WUN Research Mobility Programme

WUN in short

WUN has identified four major Global Challenges  : world university network

The most talented researchers and educators are ever more dispersed globally. Capitalizing on this, WUN brings together major universities that sit in widely diverse geographical and cultural contexts, forming a partnership that brings an unparalleled diversity and richness of talent and resources to bear on major research problems.

Through its Research Development Fund, WUN supports collaborative research that addresses major global challenges:

  • Responding to Climate Change
  • Public Health
  • Global Higher Education and Research
  • Understanding Cultures

Within each of these Global Challenge areas, researchers from partner universities collaborate on a range of focused problems.

WUN also invests in education. At graduate level, the WUN provides opportunities for early-career researchers, including postgraduate and postdoctoral students, to broaden their professional networks and gain specialized experience in an international context. At undergraduate level, WUN promotes initiatives that bring students from multiple partner universities together for shared research experience.

  Maastricht University is pleased to be part of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN). It gives us a unique opportunity to connect with a selected number of international network universities who share our vision on research and education, while at the same time staying connected to their own region. The research focus of WUN matches very well with the strategic themes of Maastricht University. Our WUN membership enhances our global engagement and our aim and commitment to contribute to the global sustainable development agenda. 

Prof. Dr. Rianne Letschert
Maastricht University President and UM representative in the WUN Partnership Board​

Benefits of WUN membership for UM researchers

UM aims to be a globally engaged university. The membership of the WUN adds to UM’s international partnerships a truly global dimension and a focus on global development challenges. The UM membership of WUN enables UM researchers to work with colleagues around the world on themes that are relevant for sustainable global development. Key academics are engaged in joint WUN teams built around essential themes in global development.  WUN funds research projects framed by these themes where academics of various WUN member universities work together.  For early and mid-career researchers, the WUN offers workshops, webinars and a network on research topics and themes related to the Global Challenges. All this enhances both UM’s global engagement and visibility. It may also support the acquisition of external (research) funding.

WUN representatives at UM

UM Institutional WUN Coordinator

  Han Aarts, MA.
Director Mundo and policy advisor global engagement, MUO/Academic Affairs/Mundo
   +31 43 388 3519

WUN Boards of Governance

  WUN Partnership Board
Prof. Dr. Rianne Letschert | President of Maastricht University
  WUN Academic Advisory Group (AAG)
Prof. Dr. Gaby Odekerken-Schröder | Vice-Dean of UM School of Business and Economics
  WUN Coordinators Group
Han Aarts MA | MUO/Academic Affairs/Mundo

Global Challenges Steering Groups

  Public Health (PH) 
UM Representative Dr Jill Whittingham, educational researcher and educational psychologist at Faculty of Health Medicine Life Sciences
  Understanding Cultures (UC) 
UM Representative Prof. Dr. Bartel van de Walle, director UNU Merit (vacancy)
  Global Higher Education and Research (GHEAR) 
UM Representative Dr. Ellen Bastiaens, director EdlabProf. dr. Jeroen Kooman
 Responding to Climate Change (RCC) 
UM Representative Prof. Dr. Yvonne van der Meer, Sustainability of Chemicals and Materials, Faculty of Sciences and Engineering

Other Groups

  Global Africa Group
UM Representative Mr. Han Aarts
 Global China Group (GCG) 
UM Representative (vacancy)
  Student Mental Health Group 
UM Representative Ms. Margriet Schreuders, director Student Service Centre

WUN Research Development Fund

world university network knowledge partners

WUN encourages international collaborative research among its members via its Research Development Fund (RDF). The RDF aims at bringing together researchers to undertake innovative, high quality, research projects that addresses the one of the global challenges on which the WUN focuses.

Calls for proposals for the RDF fund are launched annually, usually in August and with a deadline at the end of October. The call for 2022/2023 will be launched in August 2022. For more information, please refer to the WUN website. For additional questions you can contact Han Aarts.

RDF projects led by UM researchers as ‘principal investigator (PI)’ in the past years include: 

  • the creation of a Community of Learning for African PhD fellows (2015; Dr Mindel van de Laar),
  • a project on urban solid waste management (2018; Prof. Shyama Ramani and Maria Tomai from UNU-MERIT) 
  • a project on developing a platform to share accelerometer data (2018; Dr. Annemarie Koster at FHML (CAPHRI).
  • Women and Migration: patterns, experiences, vulnerabilities (2019; Dr Katie Kuschminder)
  • Strengthening Antenatal Care Resilience in the face of pandemics (2020; Dr Elena Ambrosino)
  • A project on research supervision and mentoring practices during te Covid 19 Pandemic and beyond (2021; Dr Mindel van de Laar and Ms. Oksana Celbis)

  Information about all of these projects can be found here.

WUN Early Career Researchers Webinars

WUN, in collaboration with UNESCO and UNSDSN, is holding a series of free virtual networking workshops for early career researchers (ECRs) under the theme of ‘developing the next generation of research leaders for sustainable development’.

The workshops bring together early career researchers from all around the world interested in establishing connections to colleagues in their field.

This program was launched in 2020 and introduced by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Read about and watch the recording of the launch event here

Each networking workshop focuses on a particular SDG and are launched by distinguished speakers who will provide an overview of the major research opportunities and challenges in the broad topic domain. Participants break up into virtual meeting rooms, which will be set up according to specific research interests within the session’s particular SDG theme so that they can develop their international networks and collaborations.

Join the WUN Hub!

WUN Hub is a database that enables researchers at WUN universities to find (and connect with) WUN colleagues and WUN-supported research projects.

As a WUN researcher, you join the Hub by creating a profile that illustrates your affiliation, research interests, and participation in WUN research projects (if any). This profile enables WUN colleagues with related interests to identify and connect with each other. As a registered user, you can search the Hub to find information on members with particular research interests and active WUN research projects. It is also possible to post and view calls for collaborators to join a potential research project, and view calls for funding opportunities.

You can search using keywords or filters to identify research interest areas, research projects, university affiliations, and WUN Global Challenges.

If you are not already a member of WUN Hub, please create your profile via the WUN Hub page. The larger the membership, the more valuable the Hub becomes!

Click here and
Join the WUN Hub!

WUN Research Mobility Programme

Call for applications

The WUN Research Mobility Programme (RMP) is an opportunity for Maastricht University PhD students or research staff in any academic discipline to apply for funding to visit any Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) partner university. The aim is to facilitate research collaboration of early and mid-term career researchers leading to international exposure, networking, joint publications, increased research career opportunities and grant acquisition.

The Eligibility and Assessment criteria include being a UM PhD student or academic staff member and that the research mobility should last a minimum of 4 weeks

  Please note: due to the Covid 19 crisis, the WUN Research Mobility Programme has been suspended. If you are interested, you can contact Han Aarts for information on the current situation and on the perspectives for next year.

WUN Education workshops

WUN OpenEd is a WUN-UNESCO/ICDE collaboration aiming to offer open online education to mitigate the global COVID-19 impact on education. The program kicked off on 29 September 2021 with 10 webinars for potential users (teachers, students, administrators).

  More information about this project is available here.