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Internationalizing higher education through collaborative partnerships: the case of Paraná, Brazil

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This session will discuss the preliminary steps towards achieving regional integration by bringing together seven state universities in the south of Brazil, financed by the state government through the Secretariat for Science, Technology and Higher Education (SETI-PR). Public universities in Brazil have a relatively long tradition of supporting research and teaching and offering free of charge undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Historically, they have been funded by state or federal agencies and, more recently, they have been facing major challenges due to dwindling resources and the pressure to apply for external funding in a highly competitive environment. The existing seven universities in Paraná (many of which with several campuses), found that by joining efforts they would be stronger, since together they are responsible for 94,000 students. For this reason, in the last five years, with the demands to improve internationalization efforts and limited resources, the universities, through their international relations offices, have been engaged in negotiating access to funding sources collaboratively. In this session some of the main themes will be how collaboration is negotiated in a context of very diverse institutions, how the power relations with a major funding agency, SETI-PR, are enacted and how the external funding opportunities are identified and addressed by the group. The challenges are associated with the institutions´ different stages and understandings of internationalization and the lack of a unified policy for the state with the allocation of specific funds. Our successes relate to the ability to achieve results despite meagre resources being available. Our experience may prove relevant in contexts of scarce funding and potential capabilities spread through an institutional network. The goal of this session is to discuss how to navigate through difficulties by capitalizing on existing resources through concerted efforts to bring together institutions with different capacities. The audience will be able to explore further questions related to collaboration in a competitive milieu and what can be gained from the identification of capacities rather than looking for deficiencies.


Telma Gimenez    
Universidade Estadual de Londrina

Eliane Segati Rios-Registro    
Universidade Estadual do Norte do Paraná

Cláudio José Almeida Mello    
Universidade do Centro-Oeste do Paraná


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