Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

UK and Columbia strengthen education and science links 22 November 2011 09:30

Press Release   •   Nov 22, 2011 10:38 GMT

The UK and Columbia have committed to greater collaboration in higher education, science and research during a visit to the UK by President Juan Manuel Santos of Columbia.

At an education event hosted at the British Council, President Santos, Columbian Vice-Minister of National Education Javier Botero and Universities and Science Minister David Willetts witnessed the signing of five Memorandums of Understanding.

These agreements will expand the opportunities for UK and Colombian universities to work together in areas such as student and academic mobility, joint research and English and Spanish language learning.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said:

“I’m delighted that we have strengthened our higher education and research relationship with Columbia. Both our countries recognise the vital role that science and innovation play in driving forward growth and prosperity, and these agreements will enable us to share knowledge and expertise for mutual benefit.”

David Willetts and President Santos also took part in a science and innovation roundtable with government, academic and industry representatives from the UK and Columbia. Discussions focussed on strengthening links between the research and business communities of both countries and exploring opportunities for future collaboration. A key outcome of the roundtable was the agreement that a UK delegation will visit Colombia next year to scope for opportunities and explore potential areas for collaboration between the two countries’ science and innovation communities.

Notes to editors:

1. The Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) signed on Monday 21 November included:

· MoU between COLCIENCIAS and Universities of Swansea, Southampton, Leicester and Brunel to offer preferential terms to holders of COLCIENCIAS PhD scholarships;

· MoU between COLCIENCIAS and the University of London’s Institute of Education on UK support for increasing teaching standards in postgraduate education in Colombia;

· Agreement between COLCIENCIAS and the University of Edinburgh on educational cooperation and committing to further discussion on preferential terms for COLCIENCIAS PhD scholars;

· MoU between British Council and Ministry of Education in which the British Council agrees to expand the scope of its existing agreement with the Colombian Ministry of Education to support their National Bilingual Programme.

· Agreement between ICETEX and the London School of Business and Finance to expand opportunities for Colombians to study in the UK.

2. This is President Juan Manuel Santos’s first visit to the UK as President of Columbia and signals the start of a new and progressive relationship between our two countries.

3. During President Santos’s visit he will meet with the Queen, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and other senior Ministers to discuss how the UK and Colombia can strengthen their bilateral ties.

4. This visit is an opportunity to broaden and deepen our relationship into new areas, of which higher education, science and innovation are important components.

5. BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.