As a socially and globally conscious university, UCL participates in international university networks, whether institutional or disciplinary, and maintains numerous student exchange partnerships with universities all over the world.
The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities unites the strengths of 19 of the most prestigious universities in Europe. The members of this network, created in 2016, are in direct contact with political, economic, social and cultural players in order to tackle Europe’s major societal challenges, by promoting the role of research in achieving innovative solutions. Members also commit to sharing their knowledge, experiences and best practices to cultivate excellence in research and teaching. In Belgium, two universities are members: UCLouvain and Ghent University.
Coimbra Group is an association of some 40 long-established European comprehensive and multidisciplinary universities that meet the highest international standards. It was founded in 1985, the year of the University of Coimbra’s 700th anniversary. Two Belgian universities, UCL and KU Leuven, are members.
IFCU is comprised of 219 Catholic universities and higher education institutions. Its missions are promoting among Catholic higher education and research institutions collective reflection concerning their purpose; developing efficient collaboration among its members; representing Catholic universities vis-à-vis international organisations and associations; and contributing to the development of Catholic higher education and asserting its specific character, according to the criteria of quality, continuity and autonomy.
The Federation of European Catholic Universities brings together 54 universities in Europe as well as those in Lebanon and Ukraine. It participates in discussions on the European higher education system, organises international meetings and hosts a network of student exchanges and research studies among its members.
The European University Association represents the universities and national conferences of university presidents of 47 European countries, bringing together 850 members. The EUA aims to play a major role in defining European Union policies on higher education, research and innovation. It provides higher education and research expertise, as well as a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices.
Founded in 1950, the International Association of Universities, based at UNESCO, is the only worldwide association of higher education institutions and organisations. Bringing together universities and higher education institutions and their associations in more than 130 countries, it is the voice of higher education vis-à-vis UNESCO and international higher education and research organisations.
The Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (‘Francophone University Agency’) unites from all over the world French-language universities, ‘grandes écoles’, university networks and scientific research centres. With a network of 817 members in 106 countries, it is one of the world’s largest associations of higher education and research institutions. It is also the key player [LG1] in higher education and research at the Sommet de la Francophonie (‘Summit of French-speaking Countries’).
Created in 1980, the ‘International Association for University Teaching’, brings together higher education institutions in order to develop international collaboration concerning higher education teaching methods. The association is based geographically on three areas (Africa, Europe, the Americas), each area normally being comprised of local or regional structures. It organises a major international congress every two years.
Founded by Harvard University and MIT, Edx is an international consortium of more than 90 universities and higher education institutions that offer MOOCs (massive open online courses) of the highest standards. As a non-profit organisation, Edx relies on an open source and thus freely accessible computer platform. UCL is an Edx member since 2013.
Euraxess is a European Commission initiative, involving 37 member states and associate members, that promotes and facilitates researcher mobility. It functions mainly through the Euraxess Jobs tool, which lists online job offers and funding possibilities for researchers all over the world. The initiative also includes ‘Rights’ and ‘Services’ components to guarantee good work conditions and respect for researchers’ rights.
Since June 2011, UCL has enjoyed a collaboration agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The agreement eases the way for professors, researchers and students of either institution to teach and study at the other; to publish jointly; and to establish large-scale research projects driven by the expertise of both universities. Such collaboration covers many fields: architecture, engineering, social sciences and humanities, management, administration and biomedical sciences.
Partnership with the Lille and Ghent Universities
In 2016, UCL, Lille Universities 1, 2 and 3 and Ghent University signed an international cooperation agreement which is the framework of an advantageous interregional partnership for developing joint initiatives in education and research as well as exchanges of administrative good practices.
Because first-rate education and research doesn’t come about only through collaboration at the inter-university level, each UCL faculty, institute and research centre participates in numerous thematic networks, which can be found on their webpages.
Over the years UCL has developed a rich network of mobility partnerships, formalised through bi- or multilateral agreements (Erasmus, Mercator, Erasmus Mundus), which offer students from partner universities the chance to complete part of their curriculum at UCL and UCL students to do the same at partner universities abroad.
Finally, UCL never forgets its role as a major social, economic and cultural actor in the locales and regions it calls home. It works in close partnership with local authorities and participates in regional life, especially through local business networks. In Louvain-la-Neuve, for example, UCL is one of the key players in the association Axe 4.25, which links 200 companies in the town’s science park and in the communes of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve and Mont Saint Guibert.