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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois) is a world leader in research and discovery and one of KTH's most prevalent partners. The strategic partnership rests on three foundational pillars; namely education, research and public engagements. The success of this collaboration is measured in terms of its impact on stakeholders. As such, the partnership provides a model for global leadership in higher education, research collaboration, and civic engagement.

In addition to such traditional measures of student, faculty, and research exchange and collaboration, metrics of success of the partnership include enhanced contributions to civic and commercial engagements of the State of Illinois and Sweden; public engagement and diplomacy; involvement in policy-setting entities; connections to funding bodies; enhanced recruitment possibilities; access to research facilities; international awareness of the partnership brand; and growth of additional bilateral arrangements with external partners.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in brief

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was founded 1867 and is located in the twin towns Urbana and Champaign in eastern Illinois, around 200 kilometres from Chicago. The university comprises 17 colleges that are spread out between the two cities conducting research and education in everything from law to engineering. Illinois is ranked as one of the top 50 universities in the world. Among their alumni and faculty 23 nobel prize laureates and 25 receivers of the prestigious Pulitzer price can be found.

History of the partnership

The strategic partnership between KTH and Illinois was initiated in 2010. To launch the agreement, KTH and Illinois agreed to jointly organize two Research Symposia. The Stage I research Symposium was held on the Urbana campus in December 2010. The symposium identified common research and educational interests among the departments and research institute. It further established that three critical components for the implementation of a successful strategic partnership are in place:

  1. The institutions are compatible and there is strong cross-campus faculty and institutional interest in exploring closer collaborations in research and education
  2. Significant trilateral collaborations and third-party funding opportunities can be attained through a strategic partnership
  3. This initiative can be a model for creating strong, comprehensive, and lasting win-win international engagements that serve students, faculty, and the state of Illinois.

The Stage II Research Symposium was held on the KTH campus in May 2011. The symposium targeted planning and implementation of core research, educational, and service components of the partnership across thematic areas:

  • System Engineering and Control
  • Electric Power Engineering
  • Transport Engineering and Infrastructure
  • Architecture and Urban Planning
  • Media Studies, Communications Research and History of Technology
  • Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering
  • Smart Cities
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Sciences
  • Speech and Language Technology
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer

Research collaborations

A thriving partnership relies on extensive research and faculty exchange across a broad spectrum of areas of the arts, engineering, and sciences. Since the start of the partnership KTH and Illinois researchers have published over 30 joint publications.

Research collaborations between KTH and Illinois

Educational collaborations

Students at KTH have extensive opportunities to spend time studying abroad at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Each year around 30 KTH students go to Illinois for exchange studies. The majority of exchange opportunities are for one term, with both fall and spring placements available. The exchange programme with Illinois may also have opportunities for both Bachelor's and Master's thesis'. UI and KTH also offer an array of summer and intensive courses open for students within faculty led programs.

One of the partnerships strongest collaborations within education is between the KTH Railway Group and the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC) at Illinois. The two rail groups' collaboration has resulted in the development of on-line courses and faculty exchange program. In 2018 a new Master’s programme in Railway engineering offered jointly between KTH and Illinois will admit their first students.

KTH and Illinois are two of the original members of the International Consulting Network (ICON), a global initiative with focus on technology and entrepreneurship that gives students an opportunity to get professional experience in an international environment. Together with students from Israel, Shanghai, UNIST in South Korea, Long Island University in the US, KTH, and Illinois form cross disciplinary consultanting teams working with real clients.

Through the collaboration of Mark Rutland, KTH and Ralph Nuzzo, UI, a one week intensive course on physical methods in surface and material characterisation was designed at KTH Media Productions the summer of 2014. The course included a mix of online and classroom learning for the 26 registered PhD students from both universities. Professor Nuzzo has continued to use the web course materials at UIUC each spring term.

Education collaborations between KTH and Illinois

Public engagement

In addition to education and research, the partnership between KTH and Illinois extends to areas of public engagements. Two key projects taking this angle include sustainable public housing in Illinois and an Inspire philanthropic initiative in Africa in areas of agriculture, global health, ICT, energy and water.

Public engagement collaborations between KTH and Illinois


Page responsible:Erica Buck
Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Jan 26, 2021