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UK-SEA Partnerships and Exchanges Baseline Research (UK-SEA PEER)


The British Council




Assistant Professor, Dr Que Anh Dang (PI), Professor Katherine Wimpenny (Co-PI), Professor Lynn Clouder (Co-PI)


Joint Coordinator of Work Package 1 (HE and VET Partnerships in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)): 

Associate Professor Meng-Hsuan Chou, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Joint Coordinator of Work Package 2 (HE and VET Partnerships in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)):

Dr Paryono, Senior Researcher, Deputy Director for Research at VOCTECH, Southeast Asian Ministry of Education Organisation (SEAMEO), Centre for Vocational and Technical Education and Training (VOCTECH), Brunei Darussalam.

Joint Coordinator of Work Package 3 (Research and Innovation Partnerships):

Professor Ka Ho Mok, Lingnan University, Hongkong, Member of the Centre for Global Higher Education (Oxford Uni).

Other partners
  • Professor Takao Kamibeppu, Fukuyama City University, Japan.
  • Dr Bing Wu Berberich, Lecturer in HRM, Glasgow school for business and society, Glasgow Caledonian University.
  • Dr Roger Yap Chao Jr. Independent Consultant, The Philippines.
  • Dr. Choltis Dhirathiti, Executive Director, ASEAN University Network (AUN), Thailand.
  • Ms Leonie Nagarajan, Director, Education Department, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), Singapore.
  • Assistant Professor, Dr. Fuangarun Preededilok,  Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
  • Dr Doungkamol Bangchuad, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand


March 2021 to September 2022

Project overview

The emergence of a nascent ASEAN HE space, the ASEAN+3 ( (China, Japan, South Korea) region, and the new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with increasing intra-regional student mobility are providing grounds for a ‘Global Britain’ to reinvest in its multilateral relationships. The impact of UK higher education (HE) internationalisation can be felt in East Asia, in the number of UK transnational education (TNE) arrangements and research collaborations in the region and the number of Asian students choosing to study in the UK.

This study aims to develop a greater understanding of policies, practices, emerging priorities and concepts of HE internationalisation in the UK and East Asia.

Three work packages with UK-based and Asia-based researchers will examine the scope, profiles and patterns of the existing HE, vocational education, and research partnerships at governmental and institutional levels by answering overarching questions:

  1. What model of partnerships and types of UK TNE and collaborative research have been prioritised to date and how do they compare across East Asian countries?
  2. How and by whom are quality and inclusion in partnerships defined and implemented?
  3. How do the current UK-East Asia partnerships serve to inform future initiatives?
  4. Which actors, ideas and principles will form and drive UK-ASEAN regional partnerships in a post-Brexit and post-pandemic era?

Combining British and Asian perspectives and theoretical resources from international relations and HE research fields, this mixed-method study will identify new and innovative concepts for future partnership initiatives that bring equity, mutual benefits and added value to all involved.

Project objective

This project will investigate the existing UK-East Asia partnerships by answering the overarching research questions defined above to meet the following objectives:

  • To map the landscape of UK-ASEAN, UK-ASEAN+3 partnerships and exchanges over the past 10 years in HE, Vocational Education and Training (VET), and Research and Innovation (R&I), highlighting the quantity, models and profiles of the partnerships at governmental and institutional levels;
  • To develop a deeper understanding of policies, practices, priorities of HE internationalisation by investigating ideas, principles, institutional arrangements, contexts and actors that foster or weaken UK-East Asia partnerships;
  • To provide policy makers and HEIs with reliable data and synthesised analyses to inform their policies for future multilateral or regional partnerships that will support the need for enhanced equity and inclusion, bringing mutual benefits and added value to all involved; and
  • To contribute original knowledge and methodological advancement to the field of HE research for analysing multidimensional HE partnerships at a large scale and under the pandemic.


The project aims to benefit students, HEIs, policy makers and the wider public by creating the following concrete societal and academic impacts.

  • Substantiate the British Council’s initial proposal set out in the ASEAN Dialogue Partner Proposition: UK-ASEAN Partnerships for Education Opportunities- Providing Learning and Exchange (UK-ASEAN PEOPLE);
  • Enhance understanding of internationalisation strategies and practices at national and institutional levels, and emerging priorities of the UK, ASEAN, and ASEAN+3 countries in post-Brexit and post pandemic context. Hence, promote research-informed practices and pedagogies of TNE in STEM and HSS to enhance student learning experience and to strengthen UK-ASEAN HE interconnectedness;
  • Advocate diversity, inclusion and equity through responsible international education partnerships in all countries involved, particularly ODA countries;
  • Call for greater support to sustain partnerships between the UK and East Asia that contribute to global knowledge production, tackling global challenges and achieving the SDGs;
  • Strengthen people-to-people connectivity and build trust between the UK and East Asia, especially connecting young people, thus repositioning Britain in East Asia and vice versa. Multilateral partnerships in education not only help the education systems and individuals mitigate the long-term effects of the current pandemic but also play an important role in promoting peace and people diplomacy among nations;
  • Deconstruct and reconceptualise 'internationalisation of education and research' in the British and East Asian perspectives;
  • Expand the concept of 'Variegated HE Regionalism' that refers to the outcome of ongoing interactions with existing spatial, temporal, social and structural relations, norms and ways of making sense of the HE world.


  • Project report;
  • Three policy briefs in English and in several Asian languages;
  • A 6-minute video and a web-based interactive tool to visualise research findings;
  • An analytical paper about selected case studies will be published in the British Council’s online research papers series for practitioners and HEIs staff;
  • Three blog posts or commentaries;
  • Three dissemination events in Bangkok, Jakarta and London in 2022;
  • In addition, the project team, in collaboration with the British Council offices in ASEAN countries, is willing to support selected local journalists to write articles in local newspapers for wider readership;
  • Webinars and a special issue in an academic journal in 2023 for the academic community;
  • A pioneering event - ‘We cannot take inclusive and equal partnerships for granted’ - took place on 28 June 2022 with discussions providing a series of key recommendations to sustainable and fruitful collaborations between Southeast Asia and the United Kingdom. Watch the event video
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