Unlocking International Potential

May 9, 2018

Professor Christopher YipProfessor Christopher Yip Scientists know the most productive collaborations unfold organically — shared interests give rise to shared opportunities and from there, collaborations take hold and productivity deepens. At the Office of the VP International (OVPI), we’ve developed a strategy that we believe will optimize U of T’s research competitiveness and global impact. 
How will we get there? We’ve established several initiatives to help researchers seed and build international research collaborations with key partner institutions.

These initiatives will provide resources to help researchers identify partners, develop ideas and grow their programs. The ultimate goal is to create strategic and impactful global research alliances that build on the key strengths and interests of the University of Toronto. This includes kick-starter funds for meetings and small workshops to help bring prospective partner institutions and colleagues together to evaluate and plan collaborations.

OVPI also offers more substantive targeted operating grants to help establish collaborations and finally, our flagship opportunity — International Doctoral Clusters (IDC).

The IDC vehicle is a multi-year initiative that leverages support from the OVPI and the School of Graduate Studies with matching funds from divisions, departments and external funders to help support the mobility of trainees to work with their global collaborators. With three IDCs launched in 2017 — including Medicine’s Department of Molecular Genetics partnership with Zhejiang University in China — and many more in the pipeline for 2018/19, this is proving to be a popular vehicle across all sectors of U of T’s research enterprise. 

We have also been working closely with the national research and training network MITACS and its Globalink Research Award program. This program provides funding for research experiences abroad for U of T students, and at U of T for our partner institutions. It is a terrific mechanism to help seed and build international collaborations and enhance the global reach and mobility of the University. 

This is a time of optimism and growth in international partnerships at U of T. I would encourage all enterprising research faculty to think about how they and their departments can work to expand their vision globally. It’s good for our students — and good for faculty innovation, development and impact. If you’re interested in OVPI programs, you can reach me at christopher.yip@utoronto.ca or 416 978 7853.

It’s early days but we’re thinking big — and the door is always open.

Christopher Yip
Associate Vice-President International Partnerships, U of T

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