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World Technology University Conference aims for ‘application of innovation’ and collaboration


Professor Sankar Sivarajah

An annual conference that brings together universities from across the globe is helping facilitate original research and collaborations to show how people can benefit from new technology.

The World Technology University Conference (WTUN) will be hosted by Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand from November 22-24 and will feature presentations from academics at the University of Bradford.

The WTUN has resulted in a number of collaborations, including staff and student visits to other universities, enabling original research into important topics.

Professor Sankar Sivarajah, Dean of the School of Management, said the role of universities was to create an “ecosystem” on which collaboration enabled entrepreneurship to flourish, while recognising the importance of the UN’s sustainability goals.

He said: “One of the focuses of the conference is really to bring about this collaboration between international partners, including universities, to show the work they do in terms of original research and looking at the application of modern technologies, can be applied to the real world.

“In short, this is about showing how cutting edge research can make a positive difference to people’s lives, to make businesses more efficient, and to solve real world problems. It is about the application of innovation.”

Professor Sankar will be delivering a presentation in which he showcases the use of an artificial intelligence system that has been adopted by a Yorkshire housing association to better monitor and manage routine repairs.

Another presentation will look at the implementation of the SAS Step-Up programme, a national data analytics course trialled at the University of Bradford.

WTUN was founded in 2016 by former University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor, with the aim of making university research more accessible and more relevant. It has 19 members, including higher education institutions from Australia, Austria, India, Bahrain, Ireland, Taiwan and Malaysia.

Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “The congress is an opportunity for members to to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities for global higher education, to reflect on past work, and set an agenda for the future, with particular reference to sustainability, which is increasingly important to many aspects of our lives.”

The seventh World Technology Universities Congress will be hosted at Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand, from 22-24 November 2022.

Professor Fiona Macaulay

Pictures above: Professor Fiona Macaulay

Case study

Gender, Peace & Development Professor Fiona Macaulay will head to Natal, in North-East Brazil, later this month to spend two weeks as part of a WTUN exchange with the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN).

She will be working with Dr Juliana Melo, an anthropologist, prisons researcher and human rights advocate to discuss the impact of prison riots in her city and look at alternative technologies - that is, social policies - for addressing problems of crime and violence.

Professor Macaulay said: “This is the first exchange between the University of Bradford and the UFRN. During my visit I will be carrying out research and giving a number of guest talks and workshops. I will have a unique opportunity to accompany Juliana and her students on a visit to a community-run prison.

“I will be giving talks on how to welcome refugees and become a University and City of Sanctuary. I will also participate in a conference on women's rights and talk about my research on feminicide.

“I will also carry out my own research. I'll be going on patrol with the special police units that support victims of domestic violence, and interviewing local police officers who have become elected politicians.”