University of São Paulo - Brazil

USP and UGPN: a decade of research and international cooperation

                                                                                                                    (by Filipe Albessu Narciso) – May 25th, 2021


This year, the University Global Partnership Network’s (UGPN) annual conference had to go online. On a four day schedule that lasted from the 22nd to the 25th of March, UGPN Virtual Conference 2021 involved activities from workshops on the importance of resilience to plenaries that discussed sustainability. The event sought to promote and facilitate innovative collaborations in research and education. Topics on Higher Education and key research areas for the network were addressed and heavily debated by senior academics and professional service staff through this platform. Recordings of the event can be accessed on the link:

Founded in 2011 by the University of São Paulo (USP), North Carolina State University and University of Surrey, the University Global Partnership Network has been promoting international cooperation for a whole decade. In 2016, the network expanded with the addition of the Australian University of Wollongong. Hundreds of students have been able to enjoy the facilitated mobility and exchange experiences among the institutions from the academic network.

UGPN has its values stated under the acronym ICARE: Innovation, Collaboration, Ambition, Relevance and Excellence. To foster such a vision between its member institutions, the network has its own research fund called The UGPN Research Collaboration Fund (RCF). With an annual investment of 240 thousand dollars, the fund has supported 64 research projects, among which 18 trilateral and 6 quadrilateral projects. These projects span a range of topics such as genetics, international relations, mathematical models and neuroscience.

Among the institutions of the network, University of São Paulo is the only non-anglophone and Latin American institution. Being a representative of both Latin American and Brazilian knowledge inside the network, USP provides unique exchange opportunities to its fellow members.

One example is the summer school program known as the Brazilian Business & Culture program, which is held at the USP’s Ribeirão Preto campus. The program focuses on introducing its students to Brazilian economy and agribusiness, as well as highlighting a strong cultural management aspect. Classes are held entirely in English, but there are also Portuguese classes to enable students to have a better understanding of Brazilian culture.

UGPN is a key element of USP’s international strategy. For that reason, in 2019, the institution hosted a workshop with representatives from the network’s member institutions to stimulate research collaborations and PhD mobility with its partners. The event included meetings, visits, and conversations. There were also governmental agencies involved, such as the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) and the Brazilian Federal Funding Agency (CAPES).

This year, UGPN has started the process of the tenth call for collaborative research. According to the information available on UGPN’s website, an investment of 10 thousand dollars per institution for each joint research project inside the network is expected. This edition will prioritize ideas that are related to worldwide sustainability and industries of the future as well as those that are multidisciplinary in math, technology, sciences, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.