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About INSPIRE

View a recent press release.

View an article in Illinois International Review or download a .pdf.

The goal with INSPIRE is to establish a transnational partnership alliance between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois) and three leading research universities in Stockholm, Sweden. This partnership was initiated with KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and quickly expanded to include Stockholm University (SU). We are now actively exploring potential avenues of collaboration with Karolinska Institutet (KI). Together, these top Swedish universities include faculties of engineering, humanities, law, medicine, natural sciences, and social sciences. This partnership alliance is a collaborative venture of well-matched, peer institutions and is expected to be fully reciprocal.

The partnership alliance will rest on three foundational pillars, namely education, research, and service, and will measure its success in terms of its impact on its stakeholders, principally, the students and faculty at each institution and the state, commercial, and civic societies of the State of Illinois and Sweden. As such, the alliance provides a model for global leadership in higher education, research collaboration, and civic engagement. The alliance also serves as the pilot project and flagship program in the Illinois Strategic International Partnerships (ISIP) initiative, under the guidance of the Associate Provost for International Affairs and the Director of ISIP, and thus represents a first coordinated approach to, and long-term planning for, our campus's international engagement and global profile.

Recent strategic, collaborative research symposia organized at Illinois and KTH in December 2010 and May 2011, respectively, have identified an extensive list of ready-to-go exchange initiatives, including reciprocal student and faculty exchange programs, shared course development, research collaboration, innovative cross-institutional research centers and university/industry partnerships, and long-term funding sources for a self-sustained research partnership.

In addition to such traditional measures of student, faculty, and research exchange and collaboration, metrics of success of the INSPIRE alliance include enhanced contributions to civic and commercial engagements of the State of Illinois and Sweden; public engagement and diplomacy; involvement in policy-setting entities; connections to funding bodies; enhanced recruitment possibilities; access to research facilities; international awareness of the alliance brand; and growth of additional bilateral arrangements with external partners.

To facilitate the proposed alliance,

  • Illinois and KTH have created administrative liaison teams charged with following through on formal agreements between the two institutions on faculty, student, and course exchange;
  • Illinois and KTH have appointed faculty leadership liaisons at both institutions charged with pursuing continued academic contacts at the two partner institutions, pursuing funding sources specific to the overall partnership, engaging with faculty and research groups with collaborative interests at SU and KI, and advocating on behalf of the partnership to public and private sector officials; and
  • Illinois and KTH have allocated funds to seed collaborative exchange through faculty and student visits and extended stays as well as the development of innovative and high-impact collaborative research and exchange proposals.