The University of Melbourne will this week host the Presidents and senior leaders of member Universities as part of the Universitas 21 (U21) AGM and Annual Presidential Meetings.

U21, a leading global network of research intensive universities, was an initiative of Professor Alan Gilbert, VC of the University of Melbourne at the time. Together with other Vice Chancellors in NSW, Queensland and overseas, the benefits of a network of like-minded Universities was explored and then formally established. This year, and with 25 members, it celebrates its 21st anniversary.

Approximately 80 representatives from 25 member universities across 15 countries will be in Melbourne to participate in the meetings.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis said it was fitting that the network returned to Melbourne for this important milestone.

“On Wednesday we will welcome leaders from the world’s top universities to our University for an exciting program of meetings, which provides us with a unique opportunity to share ideas from across the globe,” Professor Davis said.

“In doing so we talk about the future but also honour Alan Gilbert and the pioneers from our universities who made present success possible.”

The U21 network aims to increase understanding, trust and partnership between international universities; enhance teaching, learning and research across physical boundaries; and strengthen collaboration between like-minded universities across the world.

The University will host an official welcome reception on Wednesday 9 May, where PwC’s Global Education Network Leader Sally Jeffery will speak about U21’s partnership with PwC on the new Innovation Challenge, a competition that aims to give U21 students early exposure to global work opportunities.

The U21 Presidential Symposium will be held on Thursday 10 May, with a focus on Big Data and the opportunities and challenges that impact universities’ ability to become smart campuses. Through case studies, it will showcase projects from five member Universities in the use of Big Data in Teaching and Learning and Research.

For more information, visit www.universitas21.com