Belonging to a global community that fuses ideas, cultures and perspectives is at the heart of our Essex spirit. Our global outlook and commitment to international partnerships is recognised in our rank of 15th in the world for ‘international outlook’ in the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2024, and 56th in the world in the Times Higher Education Impact rankings. Working with partners around the world advances the national and international reach of our research and education, enabling the delivery of our mission of excellence in education and research for the benefit of individuals and communities.  

International partnerships are also fundamental to realising our commitment to inclusion, making an Essex Education available to people from many different backgrounds, circumstances and locations around the world. Partnerships are an important way to open up our student and staff community to people from all backgrounds and characteristics. This is critical to our ability to create an internationally and culturally diverse community of students and staff, and to fostering a transformative learning environment through intercultural engagement and global experience.

We foster partnerships that enrich our educational and research knowledge and strengths. Our partnerships bring together education and research to nurture skilled, entrepreneurial, engaged global citizens who are making a difference in our world today, shaping a sustainable future, and forging a growing community of lifelong members of the University of Essex. Our approach to developing new partnerships and working with existing partners is one that reflects our Essex Spirit of courage, innovation and entrepreneurialism. In some countries, restrictions on who can access university education, or the types of education or courses available, limit the opportunities for students to benefit from inclusive, research-led, transformational education within their home countries. We believe that Higher Education is an important catalyst for transformation, for individual students and for the communities and societies they are part of. 

Partnerships that enable students to learn in-country also help to mitigate the environmental impact of our global outlook. For example, since 2007, the University of Essex Online has enabled 14,000 people to earn Essex degrees while benefitting from the flexibility of an online degree that empowers students to progress their education and fulfil their potential alongside work or caring responsibilities. Through our in-country partnering, we offer transformational educational experiences and create life-changing employment opportunities for students who might otherwise not be able to access specific degree subjects or courses of study. Our partnerships directly support the professional development of emerging female scholars in parts of the world where women have only relatively recently been able to pursue academic careers. Working in close collaboration on the design and development of courses, as well as supporting the completion of doctoral studies, our partnerships are nurturing and bringing on the next generation of academics, whatever their background or characteristics. By partnering with international education providers, we open up opportunities for students who might not otherwise be able to access or afford a three-year UK education to have an Essex experience as part of their university education. 

The critical importance of opening up the opportunities of an Essex education to learners who come from all parts of the world means that we do not make blanket rules about working with partners who are delivering education in countries with different laws and values to the UK, or that we would refuse to admit students from certain countries or regions. For some students, coming to the UK means having the freedom to be yourself. Working with partners to create opportunities for these students is one of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to supporting students from all backgrounds and characteristics to access and benefit from an Essex education. We consider each partnership on a case-by-case basis and have a robust principles-based partnerships framework to help us decide who we partner with and under what circumstances.

Partnerships expand opportunities for our students and staff, broadening our global outlook through enhanced international mobility and cross-cultural engagements, study abroad and other student and staff exchanges and research collaborations. Our partnerships foster peer-to-peer networks between different locations and modes of learning, bringing cohorts of students together and delivering the vision that our students are partners to each other and that all Essex students are international students. The benefits we gain from partnerships include the development of all our Essex students to be confident global citizens, and the enrichment of our scholarly community through the circulation of talent, research and education innovation and academic reciprocity. Our Essex community is made up of staff and students from over 140 countries in the world, and we cherish the benefits we gain from learning together. We know that our students and our partner institutions are attracted to working with Essex because of our diverse education environment, our values, and our Essex spirit.