We are proud to be a founder member of the World Universities Network (WUN). 

The WUN joins together major universities that sit in widely diverse geographical and cultural contexts. Bringing together academics from across six continents and 15 countries, this partnership of 24 research-led universities harnesses an unparalleled richness of talent and resources to find solutions to global challenges.

Contact us

Elisha Witcomb
Global Partnerships Manager


The purpose of WUN is to strengthen member universities, and their impact and prominence, by:

  • Fostering distinctive international research collaborations directed at problems of global significance.
  • Nurturing research talent, particularly of early career researchers.
  • Promoting the development of global citizens through targeted programs for undergraduates.
  • Informing institutional policy and practice through analysis and information exchange.
  • Building partnerships with relevant national and international bodies.
  • Communicating WUN’s strengths and achievements to ensure visibility and impact.

There are numerous opportunities for staff, early career researchers, and postgraduate students to get involved in the WUN. This includes seed funding to forge international collaborative networks, mobility funding to build connections and share expertise and world-class facilities, and networking events.

Tackling Global Challenges Through Collaboration

The WUN seeks to tackle major issues of global concern by bringing together talent and resources into collaborative research programmes. Through its Research Development Fund, WUN supports collaborative research that addresses our overarching theme of sustainable development, including in the following areas:

  • Social justice, human rights, inequality
  • Sustainable world: cities and urbanisation, energy transitions, water and food security
  • Mental health, child and maternal health, ageing
  • Responsible and ethical use of computing: artificial intelligence, information security, privacy

Find out about York's involvement in the WUN Challenge Groups .

The WUN Global Africa Group also aims to enhance the opportunities our global network enables to build research collaborations, innovations and impact in support of Africa’s development agenda. 

York academics are engaged in international and interdisciplinary research collaborations with a number of WUN's partner universities across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Find out more about our recent research successes.

Research Development Fund

The Research Development Fund (RDF) provides pump-priming grants of up to £10,000 to foster research collaborations among academic staff members over two or more regions at WUN partner universities.

Research Mobility Programme

The Research Mobility Programme (RMP) is an opportunity for staff or postgraduate researchers in any academic discipline to bid for funding to visit any WUN international partner.

Further opportunities to get involved

The WUN Early Career Researcher International Network Development Program creates networking opportunities for early-career researchers across the network, in collaboration with the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The WUN also convenes practitioners and researchers from across the Network to share best practice on pressing issues faced by universities globally. This includes the WUN Student Mental Health Network, in which York is represented by Professor Dean McMillian.

As Dean of York Graduate Research School, I am passionate about supporting the career development of postgraduate researchers, and proud to be a member of the WUN ECR (Early Career Researchers) working group.

Kathryn Arnold, Environment and Geography

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Contact us

Elisha Witcomb
Global Partnerships Manager