Academy of International Research

Source: Office of Global Engagement

Published on 2020-05-20

Entering the world of international academic research can be an exciting but daunting prospect for the uninitiated. Questions like, “Where should I go? Who can I work with? How can I get funding?” might be intimidating, but for students and researchers at TMU, answers can be found through the newly inaugurated Academy of International Research (AIR). At the AIR kickoff event held October 3rd,2019, VIPs, staff and alumni gathered to show TMU’s commitment to supporting international research collaborations and share their experiences.

Back in the 80’s, entering the international research arena could be challenging, according to speakers at the kickoff. Finding the right research partner wasn’t easy, and budding researchers were often left to figure things out on their own. Access to information has increased since then, but finding detailed specifics and accessing personal academic networks can still be tough to do alone.


That was the opportunity identified by TMU leadership; an organizational space to provide researchers with the assistance and information needed to raise their professional profiles. And so with TMU’s significant emphasis on international research collaborations and administrative backing at the highest levels, AIR was born.

AIR’s mission is to create an international research friendly environment by helping to develop collaborative research partnerships. Spearheaded by the Office of Global Engagement staff who provide comprehensive consultation and mentorship services backed by consultative policy guidelines, AIR will help raise the international profile of both researchers and the University.

Information available through AIR will include guidelines for international collaboration, FAQs for funding application procedures, and access to an interactive membership database. AIR’s consultation services will facilitate communication with partnering institutions and assist with their specific application procedures. More information will be available through AIR’s upcoming four-part lecture series covering international branding, partnerships, and perspectives from key insiders.

AIR’s member database will put researchers in contact with a pool of experienced mentors who can recommend international partners and assist with any questions researchers may have.  Once members have an idea where they would like to go, they will be invited to bring research proposals to a mentor-led “think-tank” for a checkup and suggestions for improvement before submission. AIR project managers can also assist with applications for funding such as TMU and Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) grants.

The kind of experience to be gained from international collaborations is valuable, according to kickoff attendee Dr. Chi-Wei Peng, who was there gathering information for colleagues at the School of Biomedical Engineering. Like most researchers, Dr. Peng is always on the lookout for more access to funds, and in his experience “international partners are welcoming,” he said.

In addition to being an easily accessible repository of experience and information and a base for professional networking, helping with funding is a big part of what AIR can do. “We want to create a researcher-initiated cohort that can work together to find spaces in the crowded funding area,” said Dawn Chen, OGE Vice Dean.

The inauguration of AIR depicts the beginning of TMU’s new journey in actively forming researcher partnerships to contribute to the scientific advancement, research innovation, and personal fulfillment.


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