The University of Toronto will collaborate with Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (CONACyT) in order to bring 150 Ph.D. students to the university over the next five years.
The collaboration came after the university’s vice-president international, Edward Sargent, visited Mexico in September 2017, trying to build U of T’s brand.
Sargent stated that U of T and CONACyT have worked together in the past and that this was an opportunity to strengthen their relationship. U of T currently has only 30 Ph.D. students studying from Mexico.
“We had a flow, and this is the opportunity to expand the flow as opposed to starting from scratch,” Sargent explained. “Another reason is that in today’s turbulent times, where the future of NAFTA is not certain, a lot of people in Canada and Mexico feel that one of the responses to that reality is to build direct ties between the two countries. There are many elements to that, including economic ones. But also cultural ones, academic ones. So, the exchange of people back and forth between the two nations we think has the benefit of bringing the two countries closer together.”
Sargent stated that while the university is “very active” in other countries, this deal provided the opportunity to build upon an existing dynamic, while simultaneously generating more research opportunities.
“We’re really interested in having our Ph.D. students represent a really diverse group. So, we’re interested in having doctoral students and undergraduate students from all around the world,” continued Sargent, “We think it enriches everybody’s experience to have a global representation of researchers in labs and collaborating on projects and that’s a big motive in recruiting doctoral students from Mexico. I think it will enhance the research environment and the cultural learning environment of the university.”
U of T has placed a strong focus on raising the number of graduate and Ph.D. students in recent years, in order to expand the research at the university.
While CONACyT is named for their focus on science and technology, Sargent stated that this deal would encompass Ph.D. students from a variety of fields and programs.
“CONACyT supports scholars across all disciplines and this program will, as well. So, if a wonderful doctorate candidate from Mexico is interested in doing a Ph.D. in Philosophy at U of T, they can apply to this program and have a solid chance, as long as they’re a terrific student.”
The announcement of U of T and CONACyT collaborating comes at a time when the university announced waived international fees for Ph.D. students.
Ph.D. students now coming to the university will be paying similar fees to what domestic students currently pay.
According to Sargent, the saving and reduction of the fees would permit Ph.D. students, including the students from CONACyT, to focus more on research, to enjoy life in Toronto, and to support themselves in a new city.
“It’s wonderful to continually grow the global diversity of doctoral scholars, and now, CONACyT’s contribution will go even further,” he said.
Sargent also stated that while the agreement with CONACyT focuses on bringing students to Toronto, the university does offer opportunities for students gaining an experience abroad in their field.
For students interested in studying abroad, both the St. George and the UTM campuses have centres, such as UTM abroad, that provide students with information and opportunities to study in other countries.