Worldwide Universities Network

The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is an alliance of 23 research-intensive universities. WUN provides financial and infrastructural support to member universities to foster international research collaboration and facilitate academic mobility.

Worldwide Universities Network
ContinentsAfrica, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, Oceania
CountriesAustralia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ghana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States
ChairProfessor dr Martin Paul (professor), Maastricht University
Executive DirectorProfessor Peter Lennie
General ManagerDr Mike Hasenmueller

Founded in 2000, the Worldwide Universities Network is a nonprofit group of 23 research universities from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ghana, Kenya, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States.

The current members are:

The network is funded principally by its member universities, who each pay an annual subscription fee.


WUN is managed by a Secretariat, which is responsible for the operations, communications and strategy implementation of the network.

Partnership Board

The Partnership Board provides entrepreneurial leadership of the company. The Board sets the strategic direction and vision of the company. The Board comprises the Presidents, Vice-Chancellors or Rectors of the member universities and the WUN Executive Director.

Chair: Professor dr Martin Paul, President, Maastricht University

Board Members

Academic Advisory Group

The Academic Advisory Group is responsible for overseeing the academic portfolio of the Network and advising the Partnership Board on strategic direction. It is made up senior administrators, usually at the level of Vice-President or Deputy Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for the research or internationalisation priorities of the member universities.

Institutional Coordinators

Each WUN member university appoints an administrator to manage the implementation of the WUN strategies and programs on campus and to serve as the main contact point for network initiatives. This group shares information on collaborative opportunities and develops WUN’s research programs.

Global Challenges

WUN has identified four Global Challenges as the focus for its thematic research areas. There are numerous research groups within each Global Challenge. They are:

Responding to Climate Change

The Responding to Climate Change Global Challenge encapsulates a number of research projects that address scientific, cultural, health and social issues relating to climate change. Broad themes of the research include:

  • Drivers and pressures of climate change
  • States of and impacts on systems affected by climate change
  • Managing a response to climate change.

Public Health and Non-Communicable Disease

The Public Health and Non-Communicable Disease Global Challenge emphasizes a life-course approach to opportunities for addressing non-communicable diseases, especially in low and middle income countries and transitioning populations, as well as developed societies where there are social disparities in risk. There is a particular focus on:

  • Health of family and migrants across the lifecourse
  • Resilience of adolescents in different cultural contexts
  • Schools as a setting for reducing risk factors associated with NCDs.

Understanding Cultures

The Understanding Cultures Global Challenge focuses on how globalization trends are challenging national, regional and individual cultural practices. These trends include A more integrated transnational economic system, the rise of global communications networks, increasing levels of population mobility, the advent of international consumer brands and widening social inequalities. There is a particular focus on:

  • Global Migration and Population
  • Generations in Global Context
  • Chinese Culture in the World.

Global Higher Education and Research

The Global Higher Education and Research Global Challenge addresses the sources, mechanisms and social structures that give rise to higher education challenges, and proposes reform policies for international research and education. There is a particular focus on issues of access and equity of higher education.

QS & THE Rankings of Members (2019)[1][2]

Institution Country QS Ranking - 2019 THE Ranking - 2019
University of Alberta Canada 113 132
University of Auckland New Zealand 83 201-250
University of Bergen Norway 163 197
University of Bristol UK 49 78
University of Cape Town South Africa 198 156
University College Dublin Ireland 185 201-250
University of Ghana Ghana 801-1000 801-1000
Chinese University of Hong Kong China 46 53
University of Leeds UK 93 153
Maastricht University The Netherlands 239 128
University of Massachusetts Amherst USA 305 164
University of Nairobi Kenya 801-1000 1001+
National Cheng Kung University Taiwan 225 501-600
Renmin University of China China - 501-601
University of Rochester USA 170 163
University of Sheffield UK 78 106
University of Southampton UK 97 118
University of Sydney Australia 42 59
Tecnológico de Monterrey Mexico 158 601-800
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Brazil 651-700 -
University of Western Australia Australia 86 351-400
University of York UK 148 119
Zhejiang University China 54 101


  1. "Top Universities". Top Universities. Retrieved 2019-08-18.
  2. "Home". Times Higher Education (THE). Retrieved 2019-08-18.
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