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Global challenges conference to showcase U of M's international research

February 9, 2012

Cutting-edge international research projects involving food security, agriculture, energy, health, environment and economics will take the spotlight at the University of Minnesota “Addressing Global Challenges Through International Research” conference Friday, Feb. 17, at Coffman Union on the university’s Twin Cities campus in Minneapolis.

The one-day event brings together national experts, local business leaders and philanthropists, and National Science Foundation-awarded (NSF) university scientists for a symposium befitting a world-class science fair. The conference features panel discussions, poster sessions and lecture presentations on research projects ranging from HIV to urban migration, water shortages, global warming and famine.

Sponsored by the university’s Global Program and Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance), the conference is the first system wide gathering of university scientists involved in international research. The GPS Alliance serves as a catalyst to increase international engagement across the university. Encouraging research that includes international content or partners, the GPS Alliance also emphasizes the cultural understanding required to translate research findings into reality for people around the world.

Conference highlights include:

•    8:45 a.m. Keynote lecture by David M. Stonner, NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering executive officer, on “Viewing U.S. Science from Across the Atlantic: Some Lessons Learned from Four Years in Europe.”

•    9:45 to 11 a.m.  University expert panel discussion on “How Should Global Governance Shape the International Research Agenda?” moderated by Eric P. Schwartz, Humphrey School of Public Affairs dean.

•    2:30 to 4 p.m.  Corporate and philanthropic panel discussion on “Addressing Global Challenges through Private and Public Partnerships” moderated by Meredith McQuaid, associate vice president and dean of international programs.

“Today’s problems and challenges don’t recognize geographical borders,” said McQuaid. “Financial crises, health outbreaks, civil unrest and natural disasters all have ripple effects around the world. The work of the university researchers attending the conference, whether conducted at home or abroad, will impact us all no matter where we live.”

The event is free and open to the public.

This event is part of the University of Minnesota Land Grant 150, a yearlong celebration of the Morrill Act of 1862—legislation that laid the groundwork for the public research university's ongoing mission: learning, discovery and engagement for the common good.

For more information and a complete list of conference activities, visit:

About the Global Program and Strategy Alliance

GPS Alliance, part of the Office of the Senior Vice President for System Academic Administration, is the central international office for the university system and a driving force for the university in globalizing teaching, learning, research and engagement. For more information on the GPS Alliance, visit:

Twin Cities Campus: