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Emerald Isle

The president of a leading Irish university visited the University of Houston in summer 2008 in a visit that opened new avenues of research collaboration and student and faculty exchanges between UH and the Emerald Isle.

Brian Norton, president of the Dublin Institute of Technology, was hosted by the physics department and met with faculty and administrators from various UH colleges. Although an ocean apart, the Institute and UH have much in common, Norton said, especially a focus on energy research and strong programs in optometry and hospitality.

As universities around the globe strive to forge new international ties, UH and the Institute could be ideal partners, Norton said.

"This is no time for an institution to be faint-hearted, and what really impressed me is that the ambition of this university is palpable," Norton said.

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics already has established relationships with several foreign universities, ranging from South Africa to Russia to Korea to the Philippines. These agreements provide for student and faculty exchanges and, in some cases, even for joint graduate degree programs.

With UH's rising international profile, more international partnerships likely will be in the works for NSM. While there is no such agreement yet between UH and Dublin, these partnerships typically evolve from informal collaborations between individual faculty members, and Norton's visit could cultivate those contacts.