Swansea University in collaboration with international and UK institutions has lifted the International Collaboration of the Year trophy at the 16th annual Times Higher Education Awards.
The awards are the biggest celebration in the UK higher education calendar, attracting hundreds of entries from individuals, teams, and institutions from all corners of the UK.
SUNRISE – the Strategic University Network to Revolutionise Indian Solar Energy – united leading solar research teams from the UK and the Global South to demonstrate more affordable solar technologies in Indian villages.
The network, led by Swansea University, initially focused on engineering and physical science but expanded to include social science academics from the UK and India to engage more effectively with local communities. The project even invited a theatre company to hold a workshop to train scientists in arts-based community-engagement methods.
The number of institutions involved grew as well. The initial collaboration was between five UK and five Indian universities and several businesses, but it now includes universities in Mexico, Kazakhstan and South Africa.
As a result of the initiative, the Indian Institute of Science, one of the key partners, developed and installed a solar-powered energy storage system in a village school. The set-up will provide classrooms and computer labs with affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy.
The SUNRISE network has also broadened the global reach of participants’ research and has enabled scholars and staff to develop new skills though training and workshops.
Dr Adrian Walters, SUNRISE Programme Director said:
“The Times Higher Education Awards are the first awards that we have entered as a project, so to have been recognised as International Collaboration of the Year is especially rewarding.
“We’ve come a long way in just two years and have built a dedicated and cohesive network across the globe. The strength of these collaborations will mean we are ready to face the challenges ahead as we dive into the next phase of our project to bring about solar power for all.”