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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI to explore common interests through Global U7 Consortium

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Research leaders to meet in Rhode Island

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 16, 2004 -- More and more of the world’s economies have become interdependent, yet many mutual benefits of globalization have yet to be discovered.

To take advantage of that untapped potential, the presidents of seven major universities throughout the world have agreed to concentrate their efforts to develop a joint education system, conduct collaborative research, and build administrative capacity.

URI President Robert L. Carothers and the presidents of Inha University in South Korea, RMIT in Australia, the University of Haifa in Israel, the University of Le Havre in France, the University of Washington in the U.S. and Xiamen University in China signed a declaration forming the Global U7 Consortium last spring in South Korea.

“In this complex world economy, it makes good sense for nations and their universities to build collaborative relationships, helping each other to solve the problems that face them,” comments President Carothers. “The Global U7 Consortium was formed for that purpose, focusing first on transportation logistics and then a variety of other important science and policy issues.”

URI’s Research Office has the lead role in research collaborations and will host the first meeting of the chief research officers from the seven universities since the formation of the consortium from Sept. 21 to 23 in Newport and on the URI Kingston Campus. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss their mutual research strengths in business, marine studies, logistics and advanced technologies.

“This is an exploratory first meeting. We want to find where our strengths are, what are our common ideas, suggest new ideas and identify new funding sources,” explains Janett Trubatch, vice provost of graduate education, research, and outreach, who is the interim coordinator of joint research for the Global U7 Consortium.

URI became a member of the new consortium because of its many international studies programs and previous collaborations. In particular, the connection with Inha University whose president, Seoung Young Hong, spearheaded the consortium was made through Tom Grigalunas, URI professor of environmental and natural resource economics. Grigalunas has an ongoing Korea-American project. In fact, an associate at Inha University, Dr. Young-Tae Change, the head of the U7 secretariat, is familiar with URI and its strengths, having spent two years on the Kingston campus working closely with Grigalunas on joint projects. Grigalunas notes that last year five Inha University undergraduate students were enrolled at URI. This semester, 10 additional undergraduates have enrolled.

Grigalunas will participate in another consortium sponsored meeting in Honolulu next February. The meeting is entitled “Ports: Intermodal Transportation, Logistics, Environmental, and National Security Dimensions.” Invited researchers, a selected agency, and industry officials with marine, environmental, business and transportation expertise will have the opportunity to discuss emerging issues, share expertise, prioritize research projects, and identify funding opportunities.

“The consortium will eventually involve numerous projects and numerous people,” Grigalunas says, adding that faculty members across the URI campus have already expressed an interest in it. “This is an exciting opportunity with much potential,” he says.