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Bristol hosts international symposium addressing global challenges

Delegates take part in initial discussions about potential future research collaborations

Press release issued: 11 April 2018

The University of Bristol has welcomed collaborators from around the world to a three-day symposium dedicated to tackling global challenges through research partnerships.

The conference, Building Global Partnerships for Global Challenges, is a collaborative venture between the four University Research Institutes – Brigstow, Cabot, Elizabeth Blackwell, and Jean Golding – and will bring together academics, NGOs, and partners from countries as diverse as Peru, Kenya and Nepal, alongside researchers from Bristol and other UK universities.

At the heart of the event is an understanding that, in order to address the challenges of global development – such as the impact of conflict, educational inequalities, access to healthcare, environmental change, and poverty – research needs to be interdisciplinary and based on equitable partnerships.

Professor Rich Pancost, Director of the Cabot Institute, on behalf of Professors Tim Cole, Rachael Gooberman-Hill, and Kate-Robson Brown, directors of the other three University Research Institutes, said: “The world’s most pressing challenges are increasingly complex and interlinked, and we know that solving them requires a truly joined-up approach.  The four University Research Institutes promote multidisciplinary research across the breadth of our University and with a range of partners – helping us to deliver projects that make a real impact.

“We are delighted to be able to host this event and welcome so many participants, from across the UK and further afield, to Bristol.  We’re looking forward to sharing ideas and expertise, and are excited by the potential for new challenge-focused collaborations to emerge from these three days.”

Over three days of presentations, panel debates, case studies and discussions, participants will share their own projects, engage with new people and ideas, and hopefully build novel research partnerships to tackle global development challenges.  The University has committed seed corn funding to help kick start new collaborative projects between Bristol researchers and international partners, helping to support bids to the UK government’s £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

In his opening address, Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, said: “It’s really encouraging that the government has committed this GCRF funding to support global research. It’s part of my mission to support colleagues working on global projects, and I’m looking forward to hearing about all the exciting research bids and outcomes from this symposium.”

For updates throughout the three days, search for #GlobalChallengesBristol on Twitter and visit the symposium website.

Further information

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government in late 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. GCRF-funded research is challenge-led and focused on strengthening capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange both in the UK and developing countries.  It forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment.

The University Research Institutes draw together thematic, multidisciplinary research spanning the breadth of our academic community, helping to support a more collaborative way for researchers to work at Bristol. They are:

For more on how the University is using research to address global challenges, visit


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