Global Partnerships

Research + Innovation without borders

Tackling today's large and complex issues not only demands collaboration across diverse fields, but across international boundaries. Research drives new knowledge, discoveries and innovations that advance our lives and world and therefore should not happen in a vacuum or be bound by geographic or national boundaries.

The University of Alberta is globally focused and active via our research collaborations, researchers and students. Our partnerships span the globe and involve other universities, research institutes, governments, government agencies, non-profits, technical institutes, industry, foundations and community organizations.

International partnerships and collaborations exist at all levels of our organization: institutional, faculty, department and individual faculty member level. Because of this and the large number of collaborations, this page will only highlight institutional level partnerships. Details on collaborations at other levels can be found on faculty websites and the sites of individual faculty members, research groups, labs, and centers and institutes.

Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)

We are a member of the Worldwide Universities Network – a leading global higher education and research network made up of 23 member universities across six continents that focuses on complex and urgent global challenges. WUN membership provides international collaboration opportunities and gives U of A, the province and country, an international platform and representation to share its research expertise, capacity, capability and contributions.

Through multilateral partnerships among WUN members as well as other international organizations, governments and industry, WUN fosters international research collaborations, informs academic policy and practice, nurtures research talent and promotes the development of global citizens.

WUN programs and initiatives include a research seed grant program, student and staff mobility, Early Career Researcher development, policy webinars, special interest groups and summer schools.

Under the broad theme of sustainable development, WUN’s current research priority areas are:
  • Mental health, child and maternal health, ageing
  • Social justice, human rights, inequality
  • Responsible and ethical use of computing: artificial intelligence, information security, privacy
  • Sustainable world: cities and urbanization, energy transitions, water and food security

Of the 90 currently active WUN research initiatives, U of A is lead on 9 and a partner on another 22.

WUN Summer School

In July 2019, the University of Alberta hosted 21 upper level undergraduate students from 13 WUN institutions for a two-week summer school on the theme of Energy Transitions. The summer school covered a range of topics from hydrocarbons to renewable energy and, along with the technical aspects, covered many of the associated social, economic, and political issues. The students received lectures from professors at the cutting edge of research in the energy field, and went on related laboratory tours and field trips that brought the topics to life.

The Americas

The University of Alberta has broad partnerships across the Americas, including 26,000+ joint publications* with over 1,700 organizations, particularly in the USA, Mexico and Brazil.

United States of America

The USA is by far the country that we collaborate with the most (e.g., over 24,000 joint publications*).

One of the pillars of our US relationship is our Fulbright Canada partnership. The Foundation of Education Exchange between Canada and the US (Fulbright Canada) is a bi-national, treaty-based, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization with a mandate to identify the best and brightest minds in both countries, and engage them in residential academic exchange.

U of A's most active participation is with the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair program. Since 2004-2005, U of A has received over 25 visiting research chairs. Many U of A professors also spent time in the US Fulbright award recipients. 


We also work closely with many partners in Mexico, including the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Mexican Institute of Petroleum (IMP), the Mexican Center for Innovation in Bioenergy (CEMIE-Bio), and the National Institute of Electricity and Clean Energy (INEEL).

U of A and the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, also known as Tecnológico de Monterrey, share many mobility, research and education activities, and other collaborations. In 2020, we launched a joint research seed grant program to fund joint research projects in areas such as energy, AI, and advanced manufacturing.

U of A is heavily involved in the Mexican energy sector, working on initiatives ranging from research and innovation to graduate education and short-term professional development. In 2017, U of A received $14.6M CDN from the Energy Hydrocarbon Fund to help Mexico transform its energy sector. U of A's energy initiatives in Mexico are focused mainly in the areas of Hydrocarbons, Renewables, and Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS). 

South America

Our research connections in South America include: Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. Most recently, we have connected with Brazilian institutions through the Brazilian government’s CAPES PrInt research internationalization program, which supports faculty and graduate student mobility and research projects.

We also have strong ties with Brazil's Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) through the Worldwide Universities Network and have a dual degree program with the University of São Paulo in Pharmacy, providing graduate students with opportunities to study in both Canada and Brazil.

*Source: Web of Science/Incites, Years 1980 - 2021, 12 authors or less.

Learn more about our Americas partnerships


The University of Alberta has extensive partnerships across Asia Pacific, including 16,000+ joint publications* with over 1,600 organizations, particularly in Australia, Japan, South Korea and India.


Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University, China's premier university and ranked the world's #1 in energy, chose U of A as a key international partner. Building on the Sino-Canadian Energy and Environment Research and Education Initiative (SCENEREI) partnership, which encompassed 35 joint research projects in the areas of clean energy, energy policy, transportation, and environment. In 2017, the university and Tsinghua then established the University of Alberta-Tsinghua Joint Research Center for Future Energy and Environment. This China-based center brings together Tsinghua's Low Carbon Energy Laboratory (a national think tank) and U of A's $75 million Future Energy Systems research initiative.

The centre expands and further develops research innovation, technology and policy development in areas of low carbon, clean, renewable, and sustainable energy; environment, water and climate change; advanced stationary power systems; reliable energy storage systems and smart grids to support industrial, domestic and transportation needs; as well as technologies such as big data.

Li Ka Shing Foundation

U of A's Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, created with support from the Li Ka Shing Foundation and the Alberta government, is focused on new vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for virus-related diseases. The Institute has many collaborations including Fudan University-Shanghai Medical College, Tsinghua University and the Pasteur Institute (Shanghai).

China Scholarship Council

The China Scholarship Council (CSC) supports educational, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges between China and the world. U of A receives more CSC-funded visiting research interns, post-doctoral fellows and scholars than any other university in the world.

China Institute

Our China Institute advances scholarship on China, supports new teaching and research activities on Chinese topics, and promotes strong academic linkages between us and Chinese universities. The Institute also promotes academic, trade and diplomatic relations between Canada and China and advises government and industry interested in doing business in China.


India is an emerging powerhouse in the global economy, and in higher education and knowledge-based industries. Thanks to significant expertise and capacity in energy research and innovation, U of A has been working with partners in India to address the country’s growing energy demand. We also work with India in other areas such as agricultural and food sciences, computing science, environment and water, and health science. Partners include academic, industry and government organizations.

India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS)

Established in 2012, with $13.8 million in financial support from the Canadian government under its Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence, IC-IMPACTS brings together researchers, industry innovators, community leaders, government agencies and community organizations across India and Canada to develop solutions to pressing issues faced by communities in Canada and India. 

The collaboration, established by the University of Alberta, UBC and UToronto with various Indian organizations, is supported by the government of both countries. The program is developing and implementing solutions in community context and training the next generation of researchers and innovators.

Indian Institutes of Technology

We have Joint Doctoral Degree Programs (JDPs) with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) Bombay, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee to create a two-way flow for academic exchange, providing PhD students the opportunity to pursue research at the partner institution and receive a degree from their home institution with recognition of their participation in the JDP. The JDPs aim to give students valuable international research experience at premier institutions, while creating long-term linkages and collaborations between U of A and IIT professors.

Science and Engineering Research Board

In 2016, U of A was the first international university to sign a visiting PhD student agreement with the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), India’s premier national research funding agency based within the Department of Science and Technology. SERB annually sponsors visiting doctoral students to pursue up to 1-year of co-supervised research at U of A, facilitating connections with India's top institutions and students.

Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute

Since 2007, we have been a proud member institution of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI), a bi-national organization that supports the creation of links between academia, government, business communities and civil society organizations in India and Canada by funding research and hosting seminars. Based on the priorities of both countries, SICI’s research clusters focus on areas such as urban issues and sustainability, gender mainstreaming, indigeneity and decolonization, AI, robotics and clean energy.

*Source: Web of Science/Incites, Years 1980 - 2021, 12 authors or less.

Learn more about our Asia partnerships

Europe, Middle East and Africa

U of A has broad partnerships across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In Europe we have 20,000+ joint publications* with almost 2,000 organizations, particularly in the U.K., Germany, France, Netherlands and Italy.


We have strong and deep ties with many of Germany's leading research institutions including: Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, Fraunhofer Society, RWTH Aachen University, and Technical University of Munich. We also work with German research support organizations such as Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), German Research Foundation (DFG), German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Our long-standing relationship with the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (HA), Germany's largest scientific organization, began in 2009 with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative (HAI). This research collaboration began in energy and environment (HAI-E&E) and terrestrial ecosystem and resources informatics – monitoring (HAI-iTERI). The partnership later expanded into health with a focus on infectious disease research (HAI-IDR), neuro-degenerative disease research (HAI-NDR) and an International Helmholtz Research School for Diabetes (HAI-HRD). The MoU was extended in 2014, and again in 2020.

The Energy and Environment (E&E)

The Energy and Environment initiative was launched in 2009 with $25 million in Government of Alberta funding and €6.25 million from the HA. The program combined fundamental and applied research in bitumen and lignite upgrading, CO2 separation and gas purification, carbon storage, geothermal energy, sustainable water management, land reclamation and landscape development. Projects involved 273 U of A researchers and students, and resulted in the graduation of 43 MSc and 20 PhD candidates, and 50+ joint publications.

Infectious Disease Research (HAI-IDR)

Inflectious Disase Research between the U of A Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig began in 2013 and was extended in 2018. HAI-IDR is focused on developing vaccines and new therapies for liver disease caused by hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV). HAI-IDR aims to help tackle the spread of hepatitis, help current sufferers, and help reduce hepatitis' huge healthcare economic burden.

The International Helmholtz Research School for Diabetes (HAI-HRD)

The International Helmholtz Research School for Diabetes was developed in 2018 with the university's Alberta Diabetes Institute as the international partner of the Helmholtz Center in Munich (HZM). Driven by the current diabetes pandemic and aligned with grand challenges in translational diabetes research, this research school provides an interdisciplinary and international research and education environment for the next generation of diabetes researcher leaders. Embedded into an existing collaborative German-Canadian research portfolio, this research school provides training in disease-relevant technologies and model systems, translation of basic research into clinical application, as well as soft skill development, and international networking opportunities.

Fraunhofer Society

In 2017, U of A partnered with the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) to create a Joint Development Program. This collaboration focuses on renewable energy technologies e.g. using the Thermo-Catalytic-Reforming (TCR®) technology (Bio-battery project), testing them with various Alberta feedstock material. Other projects include electrical energy storage using Redox-Flow battery technologies and supercritical CO2 applications in the food sector.

RWTH Aachen University

We have long standing collaborations with RWTH Aachen University, Germany's largest technical university and one of Europe's leading research universities, on many sustainable energy and climate programs including biofuels, and smart grids and energy storage. Formal programs include a visiting professor program, student mobility, and in 2020, a joint research seed grant program.

Alberta/Technical University of Munich International Graduate School for Hybrid Functional Materials (ATUMS)

The ATUMS initiative began in April 2015 with a $1.6 million investment from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada CREATE program. The initiative funded a collaborative training program for graduate students from chemistry, physics, and electrical & computer engineering. In May 2019 the German partner received a renewal from the German funding agency, DFG, and on the Canadian side, U of A received additional funding from the Alberta government. This will allow the program to run until 2024. The program enables collaborative research exchange visits for three to six months to the German partner, Technical University of Munich (TUM). 

West Africa

We have partnered with universities in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal to support research-focused exchanges for doctoral researchers, post-doctoral fellows and early career academics. The project, On the Path of Social Responsibility and Global Leadership, will give the next generation of scholars the know-how to become effective leaders in their communities and beyond.

The bilingual project combines online and in-person delivery—depending on COVID-19 restrictions—and is expected to begin in early 2022 with an enrolment of 32 researchers guided by cross-faculty collaboration, including U of A's Campus-Saint Jean and faculties of Arts, Education, Medicine & Dentistry, Nursing, Rehabilitation Medicine and School of Public Health.

The program will be piloted through a new Gender Institute for Capacity Building hosted by the U of A, with a focus on feminist, Afrocentric and Canadian Indigenous perspectives on research, leadership and community engagement.


The University of Ghana is the oldest and largest university in Ghana. Over the past few yars we have collaborated on a number of joint research through the Worldwide Universities Network. Current projects include Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health in Low- and Middle Income Countries (2020), Global Research Network on the Economic Empowerment of Women (ReNEW) (2019), and African Child and Youth Health in the Context of Migration and Displacement (2018).

Learn more about our European, Middle Eastern and African collaborations

*Source: Web of Science/Incites, Years 1980 - 2021, 12 authors or less.