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Universities tackle global challenges

Posted on 09/02/2016

International universities partner to solve global issues

The Presidents of three leading universities today committed to finding solutions to global challenges as part of a new pioneering university alliance. During the launch event of the PLuS Alliance, a ground-breaking partnership between King’s College London, UNSW Australia, and Arizona State University (ASU), all three heads called for greater responsibility on universities to work together to solve global issues.

Welcoming attendees and institutional delegates to the event at Bush House, President and Principal of King’s, Professor Ed Byrne AC said: ‘It is an honour to see such a distinguished number of guests. King’s is committed to working with UNSW and ASU, to align our cultures and ambitions to make an impact on challenges the world faces today. We want to look at the big questions, understand what can be achieved and focus our attention on working collaboratively to make a difference.’

Combining the cutting-edge research capabilities and innovative education approach of three universities in different parts of the world, the PLuS Alliance will undertake cross-border research collaborations to address significant issues related to health, social justice, sustainability and innovation. ‘Working in partnership, we have a combined body of over 15,000 staff, 150,000 students and over $1 billion research spends. With scale and expertise we are determined to bring about change.’ said President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs of UNSW.

Dr Michael Crow, President of ASU called for universities to move from being mainly thought-oriented to being action-oriented. ‘Universities need to think differently if they are to truly understand the needs of a world that will go from seven to ten billion people in the next few decades. The PLuS Alliance will deliver an exceptional international learning experience that creates impactful solutions for a sustainable future,’ he said.

The high profile event saw former BBC World Affairs Correspondent Emily Buchanan chair discussions from a number of newly appointed PLuS Alliance fellows, who revealed plans for the first joint research initiatives, which will have four main areas of focus: Environmental sustainability; informed urbanisation; social and distributed justice; and global health and well-being.

Speaking on sustainability, Professor Michael Hanemann, ASU, said: ‘PLuS alliance will provide a richer experience by bringing students together, promoting productive research, and outreach to decision makers and those who are directly impacted by the problems we are aiming to tackle.’

Professor Bill Randolph, UNSW, added: ‘We will be drawing on expertise to address issues in a multi-disciplinary approach.’

More than 20 programmes will be available to start from September 2016 and more than 60 inaugural PLuS Alliance Fellows from across the three universities will be announced. Degrees to be offered through PLuS Alliance universities will initially include:

• BA/BS in: Sustainability, Global health, Community Health, Whole Person Care, Business & Global Logistics Management
• Masters in: Science of Healthcare Delivery, Infectious Diseases Intelligence & Sustainability Leadership

For more information about the PLuS Alliance, visit the website here: and watch the video here:  

For King’s media enquiries please contact the Public Relations Department at King’s on or +44 (0) 207 848 3202

For Arizona State University media enquiries please contact Arizona State University media queries, please contact Logan Clark at

For UNSW Australia media enquiries please contact Denise Knight on or +61 9385 3249

About King’s College London:

King’s College London is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2015/15 QS World University Rankings) and among the oldest in England.

King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in humanities, health and medicine, law, sciences and social science, including international affairs. Its research has helped shaped modern life from the discovery of DNA structure to development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar technology.)

About Arizona State University:

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American Research University, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

About UNSW Australia:
UNSW Australia is a recognised leader in innovation, focusing on areas critical to the future from climate change, renewable technologies and sustainable cities to business, public health and human rights. Its solar cell engineers hold world records for converting sunlight into electricity; and its quantum physicists are leading the race to build the world’s first quantum computer in silicon. UNSW has unparalleled industry links, and produces more technology entrepreneurs and top CEOs than any other Australian university.

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