Internationalisation vs Climate Change – a growing conundrum for universities

Posted in: Climate Change, Event, International Strategy, Research

Bath’s International Partnership Manager, Jessica Carwardine’s experience of presenting her research at the EAUC and ICHEM conferences

I finished a master’s degree in International Higher Education Management from the School of Management here at Bath in January 2023. A consultancy project report and presentation to my client and peers was the culmination of two years of study, part time, alongside my full-time position in the International Relations Office. It was an incredibly challenging but rewarding experience and a great test of perseverance. Jumping ahead five months, my consultancy report instigated conversations between the International Relations Office and the Climate Action Team and further afield across Student Services and the Vice Chancellors Office. I’ve also had the pleasure of presenting my research at two conferences, the International Centre for Higher Education Management Conference 2023 and the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education Conference 2023.

The consultancy report investigated the conflict between internationalisation and achieving net zero as an opportunity for the University of Bath. It outlined recommendations that will help the university pursue climate leadership and show how climate conscious internationalisation can be embedded in all that Bath does, without detrimentally impacting the university business model. This forms part of the university’s pursuit of Climate Action Framework Principles first implemented in May 2020 to guide how the university conducts its business in a Climate Emergency. Internationalisation is embedded in Bath’s core mission of research and innovation, learning and teaching and campus emissions. Having compiled baseline data for Bath, engaged with key stakeholders across the university and wider higher education community, and conducted a competitor analysis; bronze, silver and gold recommendations were established to aid Bath’s journey of negotiating the relationship between internationalisation and climate change.

This is a hot topic in the higher education sector and one which should be navigated with haste as we speed towards Net Zero targets over the next 17 years and beyond. I’ve been to many higher education conferences over the years and always been an attendee rather than a speaker so to have the opportunity to contribute to this important conversation was a privilege. At the first conference I presented alongside alumni from the DBA in Higher Education Management. It was a very inspiring atmosphere with supportive and receptive colleagues who responded with positive comments and inquisitive questions. At the EAUC conference I had the pleasure of presenting with Celia Partridge (Assistant Director, Partnerships and Strategic Insight, UUKi) and Peter Phelps (Climate Action Project Lead, Climate Action Team, Bath) in a session with roughly 50 attendees and included presentations from each of us on the sector-wide response to the inherent challenges of internationalisation and climate change as well as an institutional perspective from the University of Bath.

Starting the conversation and creating transparency for others to learn from the process is important so it’s inspiring to be a part of Bath’s endeavours to navigate the relationship between internationalisation and climate change, now the relationship between the two is significantly more important. Bath is continuing to work on this conundrum alongside many in the higher education sector and hopefully presenting my recommendations and promoting Bath’s endeavours on this journey will help to overcome the challenges at hand. Watch this space!

Posted in: Climate Change, Event, International Strategy, Research


  • (we won't publish this)

Write a response