President Marcos Lisboa and other directors were in the United States to formalize the partnership that strengthens the Computer Science and Engineering programs
Insper and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have officially become partners, by way of the Department of Computer Science and the Grainger College of Engineering. The broad and long-term collaboration agreement was formalized on the afternoon of September 15 at a ceremony held in the auditorium of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), on the campus in the city of Urbana, in the US state of Illinois.
It is the first time the University of Illinois has established a partnership in the field of technology with a Latin American higher education institution. “This partnership is extremely important for our university. It will create opportunities for faculty and students, and expand the reach of both institutions,” said William Bernhard, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UIUC.
The president of Insper, Marcos Lisboa, said the partnership has exceeded expectations from the start. “We set out bigger than we dreamed in the beginning. We thought we’d work on two projects, but partnership pursuit was much greater.” According to Lisboa, the enthusiasm shows that the cooperation can be very fruitful. “It is a privilege, a very happy day for us to have the collaboration of an institution with as much caliber and relevance as the University of Illinois.”
The cooperation between the two institutions strengthens Insper’s new Computer Science program, as well as its Engineering programs, with collaboration in areas such as educational technology, teacher preparation, applied research development, exchange programs and dual degrees.
Reitumetse Mabokela, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Global Strategies at the University of Illinois, said: “We are thankful for this partnership and the opportunities arising from it. We are aware that education benefits from a global perspective. Together, we have the responsibility to promote an environment of engagement that leaves a legacy in higher education, while achieving some of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.”
The North-American university has over 100 professors and researchers in its Computer Science department, among whom 44 winners of the NSF Career Awards (US National Science Foundation Award), as well as an annual investment of the order of 500 thousand dollars per researcher. At the Engineering school there are more than 400 professors working on cutting-edge research with the use of around 60 laboratories, research centers and institutes.
“This partnership took off amidst the pandemic, so we had a lot of video conversations”, recalled Rashid Bashir, the Dean of the Grainger College of Engineering. “We want to improve the world by solving problems. Computing can help overcome many of the biggest obstacles that impact society.” Grainger College of Engineering has one of the top five Computer Science programs in the United States and is one of the global leaders in Engineering.
Irineu Gianesi, director of Academic Affairs at Insper, who was also present at the ceremony to formalize the agreement, pointed out the good understanding between the two institutions to make the partnership possible. “From the first conversations we felt as if we had known each other for many years, such was the synergy”, he explained.
The two institutions are exploring opportunities to coordinate undergraduate programs. One would include the option for students to complete three years of a bachelor’s degree and one year of a master’s degree at Insper, and then continue their studies in the master’s program in Illinois, thus earning a dual master’s degree. Meanwhile, researchers from Insper and the University of Illinois are already working on a series of collaborative research projects.