U of I Announces Alliance With Swedish Technology School
UPDATE: A link to the website for the U of I/Sweden INSPIRE program has been added - 8/26/11
The University of Illinois has institutional agreements with more than 200 other colleges and universities. But their newest partnership may be the most extensive one yet.
The university has announced a "long-term strategic alliance" with one of Sweden's largest technology schools - KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The agreement covers both academic and research projects, as well as forays into public service and economic development.
Tim Barnes of the U of I's Strategic International Partnerships Initiative says he says the agreement with KTH is more wide-ranging than any of the university's previous institutional agreements.
"Because it represents the first sustained commitment by the central campus administration to coordinate and try and leverage our international engagement and relationships into something broader", says Barnes, "something that is broadly and deeply impactful across the campus, that crosses all of our core academic and research missions, and that also involves students and faculty at all different levels from different colleges."
Barnes says the two schools are already exchanging students. He says KTH will offer Illinois students some unique learning opportunities.
"We'll have a component that's actually going to be taught in the Arctic that KTH has access to", says Barnes. "So that's an example of giving University of Illinois students access to and opportunities to study in places that would be difficult to manage, here on the prairie."
Barnes also cites projects that go beyond the university campus --- such as plans to bring state and Chicago housing officials to Stockholm to study their work in energy-efficient housing.
Barnes says the alliance between KTH and Illinois grew out of working relationships already forged between faculty members of both schools. The U of I and KTH each hosted bilateral conferences during the past year to explore the potential benefits of a long-term relationship. Barnes says the U of I plans to host the president of KTH and other Swedish officials in the spring.