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Regional Priorities in International Cooperation

Titelbild_Regionale Schwerpunkte 

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. In addition to choosing appropriate partner universities and priority countries, the university management is especially interested in establishing cooperation with countries from the so-called “Global South”.

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. The third part in turn discusses the particular conditions necessary for creating academic cooperation with countries from the “Global South”; the latter section is to be expanded with concrete measures over the coming year to form a strategy.

Grafik_Übersicht Partnerschaftsstrategie EN

Summary of the partnership strategy of the University of Bonn (as of January 2019)

Strategic University Partners

University of St Andrews (UK)


The University of St Andrews was founded in 1413 and is a public university in Great Britain. It is the oldest university in Scotland and, after Oxford and Cambridge, the third oldest in the English-language world. It has always been considered by the most prestigious international rankings to be one of the five best universities of the entire United Kingdom. Presently (2018), there are some 9,000 students registered at the university. The University of Bonn and the University of St Andrews are connected by a long tradition: In 1913, on occasion of the 500th anniversary of St Andrews, they declared themselves to be sister universities. On 6 December 2018, the University of Bonn and the University of St Andrews signed a cooperation agreement that foresees wide-ranging collaboration in research, teaching, and administrative matters.

Waseda University, Tokyo (JP)


Waseda University was founded in 1882 and is a comprehensive private university. Presently (2018), it is home to approximately 43,000 undergraduate and 8,300 graduate (Master’s) students. It is one of the most important Japanese universities. Together with the Keio University (also situated in Tokyo), it is regularly ranked among the best private universities in the country. The University of Bonn has had close relations to Waseda University since 1960. On 10 October 2017, this cooperation was brought to a new level when the Rector of the University of Bonn, Prof Dr Michael Hoch, was presented with an honorary doctor title from Waseda University. In addition, on this occasion it was formally resolved to have regular Bonn-Waseda and Waseda-Bonn Days at the respective sites. The two universities also set up funds to promote the mutual exchange of scientists and other personnel at all levels.

University of Melbourne (AUS)


The University of Melbourne was founded in 1853 and presently has 48,000 students (2018). It is a member of the so-called Group of Eight, a consortium of the eight leading universities of Australia. In 2019, the Times Higher Education Ranking designated the University of Melbourne to be 32nd among all universities worldwide, and the QS World University Rankings saw it in the 39th spot. The University of Bonn and the University of Melbourne adopted a broad Memorandum of Understanding on 30 October 2018, with the goal of developing common research projects in various disciplines and implementing a more intensive exchange of junior researchers, particularly by establishing new common doctoral programs.

Priority Countries for International Cooperation


Flagge_AustralienThe Australian university system consists of 41 individual universities as well as two institutions of higher education outside the country. It has long been one of the best systems in the world and is regularly highly ranked in the most important rankings. For example, the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2018 saw six Australian universities (University of Melbourne, Australian National University, University of Sydney, University of Queensland, Monash University, University of New South Wales) as among the top 100 in the world (Germany: eight). The high level of research quality and the excellent scientific environment in Australia hold great potential for further close cooperation with the University of Bonn.

See the strategic university partnership with the University of Melbourne described above.


Flagge_FrankreichFrance was chosen to lend weight to the importance that Bonn played in the development of European integration, not the least through the German-French cooperation since the founding of the European Union. Today, this axis is as important as it ever was. By designating France as one of the priority countries, the University of Bonn expressly wishes to emphasize its inherent orientation toward Europe. The researchers at the University of Bonn have long had intensive ti es to their French colleagues at various institutions of learning there. The fact that the French university policies have become more strategically and internationally oriented in recent years has opened up new paths of cooperation between the University of Bonn and French universities.

Great Britain

Flagge_GrossbritannienThe scientific relations between the researchers at the University of Bonn and those at universities within Great Britain are excellent and diverse. In light of the complicated and historically impacted relations between Germany and Great Britain, it is important that close scientific cooperation between German and British colleagues become a strong basis for shaping a concerted, sustainable future.

See also the strategic university partnership with the University of St Andrews mentioned above.


Flagge_IsraelThe choice of Israel represents a special commitment of the University of Bonn to its responsibility for German history. On 12 May 1965, the state of Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany commenced official relations, a date that is considered a milestone in the reconciliation of these two countries following the Holocaust. Today, the relations are close and friendly. The most densely populated state in Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), began in the 1960s to initiate close contacts with Israel. Since then these have been cultivated by the State Parliament and all succeeding Chief Ministers of NRW. The University of Bonn explicitly supports these efforts through the many close contacts held by its researchers and scientists with their colleagues in Israel.


Flagge_JapanJapan displays a number of significant parallels to Germany regarding modern social challenges, which has led to the establishment of many kindred research facilities, for example, concerning the aging population and its effects on the social and health systems, the limited availability of useable agricultural area for foodstuffs, and digitization. The bilateral relationship between Germany and Japan has traditionally been very friendly, and over the past decades the cooperation in foreign affairs has increased. In 2011, the two countries celebrated the 150th anniversary of their mutual diplomatic relations. Both are constitutional democracies and members of the G7 and G20 groups, which is reflected in their common values and connections in political, economic and social respects. For several decades now, the University of Bonn has maintained close cooperation between its own researchers and those of Japanese universities.

See the strategic university partnership to the Waseda University in Tokyo described above.

The Netherlands

Flagge_NiederlandeBecause of their territorial proximity and their high level of international relations, The Netherlands are promising partners for successful cooperation projects. The University of Bonn and its researchers have extremely close contacts with their Dutch colleagues. This expressly includes representatives from the State of North Rhein-Westphalia, which has long actively supported European integration practices and established decades-long, intensive relations to its direct neighbors to the West. The Benelux countries were the pioneers of European integration and represent three of the original founding members of the European Economic Community. They are also home to a large number of the institutions of the European Union as well as many UN and other international organizations. Establishing The Netherlands as a priority country of the University of Bonn may, upon successful evaluation, lead to all three countries becoming a focal region.


Flagge_USAAn internal survey carried out at the University of Bonn in 2017 revealed, to no one’s surprise, that researchers from the University of Bonn have the greatest number of contacts to colleagues from the United States. These cooperation have spawned a great number of excellent research projects and outstanding publications. The USA remains the hub of scientific innovation and creativity. Yet the university landscape in the United States is also complex and characterized by great diversity. Against this background it is not surprising that the researchers from the University of Bonn maintain academic contacts with a large variety of American universities. The USA will in the future continue to be one of the most important strategic partnerships for the University of Bonn.


Strengthening Global Partnership:
Cooperation with Countries of the “Global South”

Along with the adoption of the “Guidelines on Strategic Priorities in International Cooperation” and the “Strategic University Partners and Priority Countries for International Cooperation”, the University of Bonn also considers it necessary to present its position with partners in countries of the so-called “Global South”. The aim of this position paper is to reflect the numerous existing cooperation of the university’s institutes with individual researchers, research institutions and universities. Additionally, the position paper is intended to provide assistance and orientation that can be used for cooperation projects and planned applications.


Brochure: Strategic Partnerships and Regional Priorities in International Cooperation 

Grafik_Brochure_Strategic Partnerships and Regional Priorities in International Cooperation



International Office
Dr. Kai Sicks, Director
Phone: +49 228 73-5950



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