The British Council and Malaysia’s Ministry of Higher Education launched the new UK – Malaysia University Consortium at an inaugural event on Wednesday 30 March, heralding a new and intense phase of partnership and international collaboration. 

The new consortium, comprising all 20 of Malaysia’s public universities and 16 of the UK’s higher education institutions, looks to expand the scale, scope and pace of long-term collaborations between the UK and Malaysia but also with partner countries in the ASEAN network and beyond.  

An initial funding from the British Council to support the flagship UK-Malaysia initiative in its first two years, and an injection in the form of a partnership grants package of £300k to support 6 new projects focused on boosting graduate employability, see the new University Consortium off to a strong start.  

The aims of the UK-Malaysia University Consortium are in lockstep with Malaysia’s bold ambition to upscale the international performance and impact of its higher education system, especially in response to the demands placed upon it by the race for digitalisation, flexible online delivery and rapid technological change, progress made even more challenging by the global Covid 19 pandemic.

By working together, UK and Malaysian institutional partners are able to mine the huge potential for increased innovation in higher education research, teaching and delivery, to advance progress towards shared Sustainable Development Goals and to come up with solutions to our most pressing global challenges, such as food poverty and security, climate change or healthcare. The consortium will reinforce global perceptions of both countries as global centres of higher education excellence. 

The UK -Malaysia University Consortium forms an integral part of the British Council’s world-wide Going Global Partnerships programme. By creating sustainable and strategic partnerships to stimulate outstanding innovation in research, knowledge sharing, teaching and learning, the UK-Malaysia University Consortium will embrace joint projects with focus on areas such as increasing educational quality, student mobility, employability and institutional capacity.

The consortium launch event was attended by the Secretary General of the Malaysia Ministry of Higher Education Dato’ Seri Abdul Razak Jaafar and the Director of the British Council in Malaysia, Jazreel Goh, who explains the value of international collaboration between the UK and Malaysia:

“Our new UK – Malaysia University Consortium is so timely; just like in Malaysia, this new initiative directly supports the UK’s ambitions as set out in its latest international education strategy. As in Malaysia, the UK is looking to adapt to the unparalleled pace of digital transformation in teaching and learning and to create international relationships that enable it to maintain and grow its global reputation for excellence and innovation. In Malaysia it has certainly found the right partner to grow with. The British Council is proud to launch this model of collaborative excellence. It is testament to the close relationships we share with the Malaysia Government and across the higher education sectors - here and in the UK - that we are able to create exceptional opportunities like this to strengthen our international connections, empower our academics and students to exchange ideas and dynamic new perspectives, and to push the boundaries of global innovation.”

Dato’ Seri Abdul Razak Jaafar reiterated that “Malaysia sees sustainable international partnership, with the UK and other countries, as the best means to accelerate upward change in areas such as quality, research innovation and for the development of resilient, change ready, talented and employable Malaysian graduates who are open to different international perspectives, more entrepreneurial and with a keen sense of responsibility for the wider world and its future. Our graduates will showcase to the world the rich capability and international relevance of Malaysian higher education, but just as critically, the outstanding, wider value that international educational co-operation brings. The Ministry of Higher Education is absolutely delighted to collaborate with the British Council in Malaysia in building this major new UK-Malaysia University Consortium, creating a launchpad for new and sustainable partnerships to bring long-term, strategic benefits to our countries and to higher education communities here, in the UK and right across Asia.” 

 The Consortium Secretariat, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) mentioned that “LJMU is honoured to be chosen as the Consortium Secretariat for the new UK - Malaysia University Consortium. It will provide an invaluable platform to promote mutual understanding on a global scale and to address shared priorities of UK and Malaysian Universities and will establish, develop and consolidate strategic networks and sustainable partnerships between UK and Malaysian Universities in the years to come”.