On 29 September 2014, the Rector of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Dr José Narro Robles, signed an agreement that allows for the awarding of double PhD degrees with the University of Groningen in the area of biomedical sciences.
The agreement marks a major step in the development of relations between Groningen and Mexico’s most prestigious university. Over the past decade, cooperation has moved from basic student exchange to the development of joint programs and intensive research collaboration.
As was noted by Rector Narro, UNAM and Groningen have a long history of collaboration, not only in biomedical sciences, but also in the humanities. Moreover, in 2013, Groningen and UNAM were awarded the joint coordination of the Erasmus Mundus Action 2 program EURICA. EURICA is an EU-funded mobility program with a budget of approximately € 4,3 million. Over the period 2014-2017, about 300 students and researchers will be granted a scholarship for mobility between Europe and Latin America.
Particularly the relations between the University Medical Center Groningen and the Faculty of Medicine of UNAM have taken a real flight in recent years, as Dean Dr Enrique Graue explained. UNAM is part of the Abel Tasman Talent Program of UMCG, which has provided co-funding for nearly 90 students to be exchanged. Additionally, UNAM is a partner in the FP7 Marie Curie training network EULAMDIMA for diabetic microangiopathy. With the current agreement, students may request co-supervision for their PhD from both UNAM and Groningen. They will spend at least 30% of their research time at the other institution, ultimately leading towards the awarding of the PhD degree by both universities.
UNAM is one of the most prestigious universities of Latin America, and with more than 300,000 students responsible for approximately half of Mexico’s research output. Groningen is the first university to sign an agreement of this kind with UNAM. The former Groningen Rector Frans Zwarts visited UNAM twice during his term, in 2008 and 2010.
In addition to Rector Narro, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of UNAM, Dr Enrique Graue and Prof. Han Moshage of the UMCG co-signed the agreement. Others present on behalf of UNAM were Dr Juan Pedro Laclette, Postgraduate Director, Dr Elba Leyva, Postgraduate Director for Medical Sciences, Dr Armando Lodigiani, Director International Relations, and Dr Lilia Graue, Director International Faculty of Medicine.