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The University of Southampton

“Southampton naturally gravitates quality researchers, excellent partners and win-win partnerships”

Published: 17 December 2018
Winnie Eley with students
Winnie Eley, Vice-President (International) with a group of Southampton's international students.

Winnie Eley joined the University of Southampton as Vice-President (International) in October 2018, arriving in Southampton after five years as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement) at The University of Newcastle in Australia.

An experienced senior manager with a truly global outlook, Winnie has spent the last two decades in advancing education participation, devising international and institutional strategy, and refining associated whole-institution approach and associated systems in strategy execution.

In her first interview since arriving at Southampton, Winnie discusses her early impressions of the city and the University, as well as her passion for partnership engagement.

Tell us about your first overseas visit in post here.

I represented the University of Southampton in the inauguration ceremony of the University Consortium of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the University Presidents’ Forum, hosted by Xiamen University in Fujian, China. It’s an incredibly impressive network of universities. The quality of the discussion we have had over the course of the two days was extremely high. With time and collective commitment, the Consortium should become a formidable knowledge power-house on all things Maritime along the new Silk Road. Xiamen University is a fantastic and gracious host with a strong vision.

Why did you choose Southampton?

Southampton has the best weather in the whole of the UK. Eight weeks on since I arrived, I am sufficiently biased enough to say it is true! Southampton has a long and illustrious history, with a modest streak. It has a world class health system and a university that consistently ranked in the world top 100. Southampton is in beautiful Hampshire and right next to the New Forest National Park. Having lived and worked in the UK, Australia, Hong Kong and Nigeria in the past two decades, my husband and I were looking for a quality place to return to in the UK. Southampton it is.

Where does your interest for all things international come from?

Being the youngest of seven in a big family with an extended network that spans from North America to Australia, I thought, since childhood, naively, that we were all brought up with goodies such as gummy bears from the States and Tom Yum soup from Thailand, and having relatives who visited regularly and stayed with us from around the globe was the norm! I attended a Catholic School for 15 years from kindergarten to A-Levels. On reflection, the global nature of the Catholic education system has had a profound influence on me more than I care to realise.

How would you recommend potential partners go about working with us?

An established and global research intensive university such as the University of Southampton naturally gravitates quality researchers, excellent partners and win-win partnerships. The World Universities Network (WUN) provides an invaluable platform for meaningful partnerships from research projects, co-authored papers, to bi-lateral or multi-lateral student mobility. We are keen to explore both bi-lateral and multi-lateral institutional partnerships within the WUN. More excitingly, individual WUN members have their own global partnership networks outside of the WUN. The multiplying and spring-boarding effect for like-minded institutions keen and capable to work on solutions to the anticipating global challenges and basic research is incredible.


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"An established and global research intensive university such as the University of Southampton naturally gravitates quality researchers, excellent partners and win-win partnerships" - Winnie Eley
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