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Erin Dale
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Senior leaders representing 25 universities from eight countries will meet in Melbourne today to exchange ideas on how research-intensive universities can best engage with their communities. 

 The summit’s host, University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis, said that the Global University Engagement Summit – the first event of its kind – was a great opportunity for research-intensive universities to find new ways to create value with and for the communities they serve.

“We will welcome to Melbourne 11 Vice-Chancellors and representatives from a further 14 universities, alongside our city’s Lord Mayor and delegates from government, industry and the community sector.”

“Key topics include how universities can enrich their cities, the impact of the changing role of universities as public institutions and how to create economic and commercial value,” Professor Davis said.

Professor Peter Høj, Chair of the Group of Eight leading universities, who are co-convenors of the summit, said that the delegates bring rich experience with and varied viewpoints on the numerous issues which confront research universities and their communities.

“While we operate within different contexts, we share many critical issues. There are positive examples of what universities are doing with their cities, regions and communities and we want to learn as much as we can from each other,” said Professor Høj.

Summit contributors from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom and United States include: 

  • Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal for London, King’s College London (UK), former Creative Director of the Royal Opera House, London and principal dancer with the Royal Ballet;
  • Cristin Dorgelo, innovation consultant and former Chief of Staff at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Obama administration;
  • Derek Douglas, Vice-President for Civic Engagement and External Affairs at the University of Chicago (US), who worked on urban and metropolitan policy issues in the Obama administration;
  • Professor Andrew Petter QC, Vice-Chancellor of Simon Fraser University (Canada) which has engagement as a focal point in the university’s strategy;
  • Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester (UK), and Board member of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, which represents business and civic leaders across the North of England;
  • Julie Wagner, Nonresident Senior Fellow and Co-director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Place-Making at the Brookings Institution (US), who has written on innovation districts.