PluS Alliance

Kings College, London, England, Arizona State University

King's College London, the launch site of the PluS Alliance


February 9, 2016
Tri-continental partnership will address global issues such as sustainability, social justice

LONDON — Arizona State University and two other major research institutions today formally launched the PLuS Alliance, a new tri-continental partnership to help find research-led solutions to global challenges and expand access to world-class learning.

ASU, King’s College London and the University of New South Wales in Australia are combining cutting-edge research capabilities, faculty expertise and student experience to address global issues related to sustainability, health, social justice, and technology and innovation. The research will be supported with a suite of related online learning programs.

At a ceremony in London this morning, ASU President Michael M. Crow said that the complex social and cultural transformations unfolding as the world’s population continues to grow present challenges that out-scale the capacity of any single institution to address. The combined powers of the PLuS Alliance will focus on potential solutions in a pair of critical areas.

“There are two essential, core things that need to be advanced at the largest scale possible, with the deepest impact possible,” Crow said. “And those are educational attainment and sustainable outcomes. And those two things together sit at the core of this alliance.”

Some 150 guests from the three universities as well as higher-education and other nongovernmental groups attended the ceremony held at Bush House on the Strand campus at King’s, an historic building that in the previous century was home to the BBC World Service.

Joining Crow at the event were ASU Executive Vice President and Provost Mark Searle, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Innovation Officer Sethuraman Panchanathan, and Philip Regier, the CEO of EdPlus at ASU, which is developing the online platform that will host PLuS Alliance courses. More than 20 degree programs will be available through the alliance beginning in September 2016, including bachelor’s degrees in sustainability, global health, and business and global logistics management; as well as master’s degrees in the Science of Healthcare Delivery and Infectious Diseases Intelligence and Sustainability.

To spur research collaboration, the presidents of the alliance institutions named more than 60 jointly appointed faculty members — a number that is expected to grow to more than 100. The launch was preceded by a research symposium designed to identify project priorities, which was attended by several representatives of the ASU faculty who will be named PLuS Alliance Fellows, including Gary Dirks
, director of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability; David Guston
, director of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society; Michael Hanneman
, director of the Center for Environmental Economics and Sustainability Policy; Elizabeth Wentz
, dean of the social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Barry Bozeman
, Regents' Professor of public policy and a faculty member at the School of Public Affairs in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

“This partnership represents both a significant commitment and unique opportunity to create impactful solutions for a sustainable future. The PLuS Alliance will bring together some of the best minds on the planet and tackle many of the big questions facing our societies today, which would simply not be possible for one institution working alone,” said professor Edward Byrne, president and principal of King’s College London, which has been ranked among the top 20 universities in the world. King’s has a distinguished reputation in the humanities, health, medicine and law. Its research has helped shaped modern life from the discovery of DNA structure to development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar technology.

UNSW Australia is a recognized leader in innovation, focusing on areas critical to the future from climate change, renewable technologies and sustainable cities to business, public health and human rights. Its solar-cell engineers hold world records for converting sunlight into electricity; and its quantum physicists are leading the race to build the world’s first quantum computer in silicon.

“The PLuS Alliance brings together three world-leading universities that share an ambition to improve lives by working together on ambitious educational and research initiatives. Our combined scale, international reach and expertise will enable us to deliver innovative solutions to grand challenges, which are beyond the scope of our individual organizations," said professor Ian Jacobs, president and vice chancellor, UNSW Australia.