TNE impact case study: Widening access to global HE through providing choice: Lancaster’s global campus network

Lancaster University, Sunway University, LU Leipzig
Collaboration type:
Validation, Double/Joint Degree
SDG Goals:
(4) Quality Education, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.
Ghana, Germany, China, Malaysia
Professor Simon Guy - Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global, Ben Matthews - Head of Global Engagement - Lancaster University

Background and overview of the case study

Lancaster is a global university with a network of overseas campuses in China, Germany, Ghana and Malaysia, in addition to its regional partnerships.  Our campuses form a key part of our global community with one third of our undergraduate students studying overseas, with a strong mobility programme equipping our graduates to become truly global citizens.  

Last year we celebrated the 15th anniversary of our Malaysian TNE partnership with Sunway University, and our youngest branch campus LU Leipzig was opened in Germany in February 2020. We were the first British university to have a overseas partner campus in West Africa while Lancaster University College at Beijing Jiaotong University offers undergraduate programmes to Chinese and international students alike and will soon enter the postgraduate market. At present, there are over 8,000 students studying for a Lancaster degree outside of the UK.

Lancaster’s approach to TNE partnerships is characterised by a focus thinking globally, but acting locally. Our teaching models are adapted to local context and demand, with an underpinning principle of supporting local capacity building. Our history of engaging with local partners began with developing domestic, regional teaching partnerships with Blackburn College, Blackpool and The Fylde College and Furness College. We subsequently applied this experience to an international context. In addition, University Academy 92 (UA92) is a recent, innovative British partnership between Lancaster University, former Manchester United football players and industry leaders, which offers young people a unique learning experience that combines academic excellence with personal development.

Digital innovation enables a sense of connectivity across our campuses, enabling a shift from a hub and spoke model to a truly interconnected network. Since early 2020, we have established a range of bespoke digital platforms that enable our students to experience the benefits of internationalisation without having to travel. This also forms part of our commitment towards sustainability. The annual Undergraduate Research Conference, Future Leaders Experience, and a cross-campus student-led COP26 webinar are some examples of providing an accessible international experience to students based at our overseas and UK campuses alike. A Digital Classroom initiative, currently being developed hand-in-hand with our TNE partners, is designed to be globally relevant and locally distinctive.

Impact and value

Widening accessible to HE: Lancaster University Ghana

Lancaster University is among the best in the UK and is consistently highly ranked in international league tables such as the QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Lancaster’s TNE partnerships enable the provision of high-quality education to local communities, offering choice to those who wish to pursue a British degree nearer to home, and providing inclusive education opportunities aligned with SDG 4 - Quality Education.

Impact on place

Lancaster University Ghana (LU Ghana) was the first British university branch campus in West Africa. Delivered in collaboration with Transnational Academic Group, this partnership enhances local HE capacity, making it possible for students to access seven undergraduate programmes, ranging from Computer Sciences to Business and Law, from a UK University in the home continent.

All teaching programmes are developed in collaboration with a local teaching team. The course design reflects specific local needs with an aim to develop local talent pools. By retaining control over academic standards and educational development, Lancaster transfers knowledge of its teaching system and processes and facilitates the local team to achieve long-term development through training.

Accelerated by LU Ghana, the University of Benin and the Centre for Global Eco-innovation Nigeria, RECIRCULATE is a GCRF-funded project Lancaster launched in collaboration with local research teams. This project sought to improve safe water economy by introducing eco-innovative solutions, creating long-lasting impact to local communities, people and the environment.

Impact on people

Since its establishment in 2013, LU Ghana has grown its student body from 67 to a peak of over 500, with an ever-expanding alumni community of more than 300. Through a range of student mobility programmes and the digital connectivity, local students have the opportunity to expand and develop international networks, building both personal and professional contact worldwide.

Alumnus profile

Basit Brimah is an alumnus of the first LU Ghana EMBA Cohort and a recipient of a full scholarship to study the programme.  When asked about his reasons for studying at Lancaster, he said: “The programme afforded me the opportunity to combine full time work and study without compromising on either of the two, and I must say it improved the quality of professional life.”

Currently the Executive Director of DStv Ivory Coast, Basit sees his degree from LU Ghana as enhancing his career: “The programme helps me rethink my approach to leadership, my personal brand and the development of my team. The professional network I built over the programme has proven invaluable as I frequently fall on them for business reflection and expertise in different fields.

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