Regional Priorities in International Cooperation

Internationalization is an essential part of the self-image of the University of Bonn. The professional, institutional, and regional diversity of its international cooperation as well as their continual development form the basis for all internationalization activities of the university. They also describe one of the main goals of the university’s internationalization strategy.

Partnership strategy of the University of Bonn

Internationalization is an essential part of the self-image of the University of Bonn. The professional, institutional, and regional diversity of its international cooperation as well as their continual development form the basis for all internationalization activities of the university. They also describe one of the main goals of the university’s internationalization strategy. Based on this diversity, the Rector’s Office has identified a number of strategic partners as well as priority countries to engage in international cooperation.

This brochure contains details on the university’s strategy for establishing such partnerships and the regional priorities it involves. The first section explains the guidelines employed to define and choose these partnerships and priorities, whereas the second part explicitly specifies the university partners and priority countries. In addition, we describe our plans for strategic cooperation until 2025. The last part of this paper gives an insight into the Europe Strategy of the University of Bonn.

Summary of the partnership strategy of the University of Bonn © Bosse und Meinhard/ Universität Bonn

Priority Countries for International Cooperation

The Australian higher education system (41 institutions, including two Australian universities overseas) has for some time enjoyed an exemplary reputation around the world. Australia scores highly in the highest-profile rankings on a regular basis. For example, in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2021, six Australian universities were named among the top 100 (seven for Germany): the University of Melbourne, Australian National University, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, Monash University and the University of New South Wales. Australia holds great potential for the University of Bonn because of the high-quality research and academic excellence the country has earned a reputation for, making further close cooperation attractive.

Strategic university partnership with the University of Melbourne.

University of Bonn researchers maintain vibrant academic relationships of various kinds with their colleagues at universities in Great Britain. Close collaboration between German and British academics creates an important working foundation, in view of the complicated and at times troubled history between the two countries, enabling joint efforts to ensure a productive and sustainable common future.

Strategic university partnership with the University of St Andrews.

The tertiary education sector in Ghana has undergone tremendous expansion over the past 20 years as the country’s universities have risen in stature, earning international standing. The University of Ghana in Accra and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi have attained particular prominence, being frequently included in international rankings. Our academics have long-standing relationships with both these universities involving extensive interaction. The University of Bonn’s principal institutional contact in Africa is with Ghanaian organizations, which includes numerous cooperation projects with third-party funding. These research relationships are of exceptional quality and afford great flexibility in structuring partnership, thus the University of Bonn is looking to intensify and expand its collaboration with Ghanaian institutions.

Strategic university partnership with the University of Ghana, Accra.

Maintaining relationships with Israel is important as a demonstration of the University of Bonn’s awareness of its particular responsibilities arising from Germany’s history. The State of Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany established diplomatic relations on May 12, 1965, representing a milestone of reconciliation between the two countries in the wake of the Holocaust. Relations today are close and friendly. As Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia has maintained close contact with Israel since the 1960s, and the state’s parliament and prime ministers have been very active in cultivating this relationship. The University of Bonn consciously mirrors this political attitude through myriad close academic ties with Israeli colleagues.

Strategische Universitätspartnerschaft mit der Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Japan faces similar socio-political challenges as Germany, and this is in many ways reflected in shared research topics, such as healthcare in an aging society, farmland scarcity, nutrition and digitalization 4.0). Germany’s bilateral relations with Japan have been traditionally amicable, and in 2011 the two countries celebrated the 150th anniversary of the date of their initially establishing diplomatic relations. Germany and Japan are politically, economically and socially diverse societies, and as constitutional democracies share common values as G7 and G20 member states. Bonn-based researchers have collaborated closely with their colleagues at Japanese universities for decades.

Strategic university partnership with the Waseda University, Tokio.

An internal university survey conducted in 2017 indicated, to no one’s great surprise, that Bonn academics have their strongest international ties with colleagues at American universities. Such collaboration has yielded a very large amount of top-level research, as documented in prominent journals. The higher education landscape of the US is quite diverse and even complex, and the country remains a leader in scientific innovation and creativity that has naturally attracted Bonn-based academics, who have forged research partnerships with a host of American universities.

Strategic university partnership with the Emory University, Atlanta.

France was chosen as a focus for University of Bonn relationships to further European integration as part of the Franco-German alliance that goes back to the formation of the European Community and today remains as important as ever. The University of Bonn’s relationships with France as focus country form the anchor for the institution’s European orientation. University of Bonn researchers have long-standing collaboration ties with their French counterparts at several different institutions. France has become significantly more strategic and international in its university higher education policy in recent years, opening up partnership opportunities with French universities.

The Netherlands are very attractive as a project partner, being a close geographical neighbor which is heavily focused internationally. North Rhine-Westphalia earns credit for policies that have favored the forging of very close ties between the University of Bonn and Dutch academics, as the state has always worked actively to further European integration and foster close long-term relationships with its Western European neighbors. The Benelux countries have ever been at the forefront of European integration as the three founding members of the European Economic Community, where the majority of European Union institutions are now based along with many UN and other international organizations.

Strategic University Partners

The University of Melbourne is a public research university founded in 1853 with enrollment of 54,000 students (in 2020). The institution is one of Australia’s so-called Group of Eight leading universities. In the Times Higher Education Ranking for 2021 the University of Melbourne ranked 31st worldwide, and 41st in the QS World University Rankings for 2021. In November 2018 the University of Bonn signed a broad Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Melbourne. This institution-level agreement between the universities concerns among other things the initiation of joint research projects in various fields and enhancement of grad student exchange programs, particularly through the introduction of further joint doctoral programs.

Funding Program: Bonn-Melbourne Research Excellence Fund

The University of St Andrews is a public British university founded in 1413. It is Scotland’s oldest university and the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The institution regularly ranks among the UK’s top universities (see for example the Guardian University League Tables), and in 2020 had enrollment of 9,224 students. The University of Bonn and the University of St Andrews have a very long-standing relationship, as in 1913 the two recognized themselves as sister universities on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of St Andrews. On December 17, 2018 Bonn and St Andrews signed a strategic partnership agreement regulating extensive future cooperation between the universities across the areas of research, teaching and administration, promoting mutual student and staff exchanges. This is to involve joint study and research programs and visitor internships for administrative staff. The partnership is aimed at promoting mutual understanding of the respective university structures, the sharing of academic information, and the exploration of cooperation possibilities within international networks.

Funding Program: University of St Andrews and University of Bonn Collaborative Research Grant

The University of Ghana was founded in 1948 as an affiliate of the University of London and has operated independently since Ghana obtained independence in 1957, now representing the country’s oldest and largest state university. The institution is a full-fledged classic university of the arts and sciences (universitas litterarum) with enrollment of approximately 40,000 in its varied degree programs. It is known as the country’s leading university (Times Higher Education Ranking 2021) and one of the top universities in Africa, enjoying a solid international reputation. The University of Bonn has a vibrant and long-standing institutional relationship with the University of Ghana in the life sciences, natural sciences and humanities, which has led to its being recognized as a special partner university.

Founded in 1918 as an intellectual, cultural and scientific center for the Jewish people, Hebrew University of Jerusalem is now one of Israel’s leading comprehensive universities (QS 2021 #1, THE 2021 #2). This state-run university with enrollment of 23,000 students (as of 2020) enjoys an excellent international reputation as a research university, with a host of illustrious alumni. In 1995 the Universities of Bonn and the Hebrew University signed a research and teaching partnership agreement, which has led to a strong and now long-standing relationship from the top level down, focused around the natural sciences and humanities. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is thus a particularly close and important partner university for the University of Bonn.

Funding Program: Hebrew University of Jerusalem and University of Bonn Collaborative Research Grant

Founded in 1882, Waseda University is a private comprehensive university of arts & sciences located in Tokyo with enrollment of 40,200 bachelor’s and 8,400 master’s students (as of 2019). Waseda is one of Japan’s leading universities, regularly leading the rankings as the country’s top private university along with Tokyo’s other prestigious institution, Keio University. The University of Bonn has maintained a strong relationship with Waseda University since 1960, which was further solidified on October 10, 2017 with the awarding of an honorary doctorate to the University of Bonn Rector Michael Hoch and formal establishment of Bonn-Waseda (Waseda-Bonn) Days as regular events.

Founded in 1836, Emory University is a private research university located in Atlanta, Georgia with enrollment of 14,458 students in 2020. According to the Times Higher Education Ranking 2021 Emory is among the top 25 US universities (#24) and a leader worldwide (#85). Emory joined the Association of American Universities in 1995, whose members are leading research-oriented institutions. Emory is particularly prominent nationally for its high-profile university hospital, which is known internationally for medical research. The University of Bonn formed a broad-based institutional partnership with Emory University in 2020, formalizing within a certain framework the many pre-existing research relationships between the two.

Funding Program: Emory University and University of Bonn Collaborative Research Grant

The University of Bonn in the Context of Europe

Located in the heart of Europe, the University is centrally positioned both geographically and in terms of its mission and relationships. As an institution of the European Higher Education and Research Area, the University has introduced permanent structures implementing European academic reforms. The European Higher Education Area enhances cross-border transparency and comparability for academic course credit and degrees. This facilitates academic mobility but also keeps the University of Bonn abreast of international developments, including the emerging international higher education standards.

Increasing collaboration with partners in the European landscape of academic research and teaching is a primary objective for the University of Bonn. The University is increasing its efforts to receive European research funding, and will be making use of European Union programs for expanding mobility and networking in higher education. In collaboration with select partner universities, the University works to realize the idea of Europe ever more perfectly, in part through cultural exchange, mobility and language-learning initiatives. In this context, NeurotechEU3, the European University of Brain and Technology serves as a model project. The EU Project Office4 is at the center of all advice and support measures for activities in the EU.


Avatar Odenthal

Tina Odenthal

Interim Director


Poppelsdorfer Allee 102

53115 Bonn (Germany)

+49 228 73-6190

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