U!REKA conference showcases urban research projects

First anniversary event held at Edinburgh Napier

Date posted

23 November 2017


Edinburgh Napier University has hosted a conference aimed at developing a network of research excellence with five European partners.

The event marks the first anniversary of the formation of the Urban Research and Education Knowledge Alliance (U!REKA) and the signing of an agreement to collaborate on urban research projects. 

Last year’s consortium launch in Amsterdam examined how the university and its continental partners could develop their shared interests in applied research, professional education and the future world of work, and also paved the way for future staff and student exchanges. 

This week’s three-day conference in Edinburgh brought together more than 100 academic and professional services staff from all the partners to develop new and existing projects based on urban displacement, migration and refugees; health and wellbeing in urban environments; sustainable development; the Smart City and educational research.

The conference also offered the opportunity to discuss potential international collaborations around student and staff mobility, joint degrees, best practice in learning and teaching and approaches to library services amongst other topics.

Professor Alistair Sambell, Vice Principal at Edinburgh Napier, said the university was delighted to welcome its partners to Edinburgh for the second U!REKA conference.

He said: “We look forward to developing new and existing projects together in our academic and professional services, as well as learning from each other. 
“The conference has been a great opportunity for us to keep building this strong network and working closer together to deliver our common objectives of excellence in research, student and staff mobility, international collaboration and best practice in higher education.”

Professor Mark Deakin, from the host university’s School of Engineering and the Built Environment, said the conference drew on the findings of Edinburgh Napier analysis which mapped the intellectual capital of U!REKA and shared the results with delegates.

He said: “Keynote speakers highlighted the interdisciplinary nature of the Alliance’s research and education, and the 50 papers presented at the conference showcased the ongoing activities of the partner universities in addressing global challenges relating to urban displacement, sustainable development, health, wellbeing and Smart Cities. 

“The workshop activities with the delegates served to capture the potential that U!REKA has to conduct interdisciplinary research and education on a global scale and act on the opportunities such a platform offers to develop an idea lab capable of meeting the challenges which cities currently face.”

The partners in the consortium formed last year are Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (Helsinki), Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, University College Ghent and Edinburgh Napier University.

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