University Partnerships Committee (UPC)

University Partnerships Committee (UPC)


To provide oversight of the University’s strategic international partnerships and alliances at an institutional level, to ensure adherence to procedures for the approval, renewal and governance of the agreements facilitating those partnerships, including their effective risk management,  and to make decisions on their creation, renewal and termination.


  • To monitor, review and assess the effectiveness of the University's portfolio of international partnerships with respect to their intended objectives and benefits, and to assess their alignment to the University’s wider strategic objectives and commitments in Aberdeen 2040. 
  • To oversee the University’s strategic approach to the development of its portfolio of international partnerships, both geographically and by the nature of the activity involved, and to engage in horizon scanning to scope potential significant new international partnership opportunities. 
  • To identify and continually review risks relating to the University’s existing international partnership agreements, ensure appropriate monitoring and action plans are in place to mitigate these risks, and to make recommendation for further actions to SMT as appropriate.
  • To oversee the management of the University’s partnership activity with international partners, through the creation, renewal and termination of relevant agreements, informed by the advice and guidance offered to it by the Partnerships Advisory Committee (PAC). 
  • To ensure that all relevant due diligence and assurance processes and conditions are satisfied in relation to proposed new or renewed international partnership activity, and that such information is subject to verification and challenge as appropriate to ensure the robust scrutiny and governance of international partnership activities.
  • To ensure that the risks attendant in international partnership activities are clearly identified and recognised, that mitigating actions are in place to manage such risks, and to make recommendations for further risk mitigation actions as appropriate. 
  • To ensure that the University’s management of international partnership activity is carried with due reference to and in accordance with the University Court’s stated risk appetite, and all relevant policies and procedures established by the University’s Senate, including those relating specifically to transnational education.  
  • To consider and determine the approval (or otherwise) of the membership of Project Boards or other such governance arrangement (for example a Project Management Group or Strategic Partnership Board succeeding a Project Board for a long-term initiative) as may apply to individual University and/or partnership projects, including changes thereto. 
  • To establish and disestablish sub-committees or working groups to support the work of the Committee.
  • To liaise with Professional Service Directorates, Schools and academic areas as appropriate
Composition & Membership

Composition and Membership

Date of Establishment: February 2021 (Formerly International Partnerships Committee) – Updated in May 2023 (Approved August 2023)

Chair and Administrative Support Area

  • Chair: Alan Speight Vice-Principal (Global Engagement)
  • Clerk: Vimal Subramanian, Lead International Governance Officer

Chair: Vice-Principal (Global Engagement)

Alan Speight



University Secretary and Chief Operating Officer

Tracey Slaven


Vice-Principal (Research)

Nick Forsyth

Vice-Principal (Education)

Ruth Taylor

Director of Finance (or nominee)

Mark White (or nominee)

Director of People (or nominee)

Debbie Dyker (or nominee)

Director of Digital & Information Services

Brian Henderson

President of AUSA

Vanessa Mabonso Nzolo

Heads of School – as required (initially Business, Engineering, NCS) and Chairs of Steering Group or Strategic Board for each approved project.

John Skatun, Ekaterina Pavlovskaia and David McGloin

In attendance


Director of Student Recruitment

Ashar Ehsan (Interim)

Dean for International Student Pathways and Progression

Harminder Battu

Dean for International Stakeholder Engagement


Dean for Academic Research Partnerships and Research Governance

Andrew Dilley

Director of the Graduate School

Stuart Piertney

Director of the Confucius Institute

Michelle Macleod

Data Protection Officer

Fiona Stuart

Head of International Partnerships and Mobility

Katja Christie

Clerk: Lead International Governance Officer

Vimal Subramanian


With the agreement of the Chair, other staff, students or stakeholders, as required.

Quorum: 50% of formal membership (including Chair)

Account to be taken of Equality and Diversity in Membership

Reporting Line/Parent Committee and Interface with other Committees

Parent committee and Formal reporting line

  • Senior Management Team (SMT)

Interface with other committees

  • International Advisory Group (IAG)
  • University Education Committee (UEC)
  • Quality Assurance Committee (QAC)
  • Risk Management Committee (RMC)

Frequency and Timing of Meetings

The University Partnerships Committee will hold at least three meetings per academic year

Publication of Papers

Cognisance will be taken of the University’s Publication Scheme and Agenda papers will be made available on web pages/staffNet where possible.