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University and Research Leadership Forum

University and Research
Leadership Forum

The GFCC University and Research Leadership Forum (URLF) is a living think tank for identifying and discussing emerging trends and ideas to optimize the university and research enterprises.


The URLF disseminates learnings from relevant case studies and original insights on innovative university models, research translation, impact strategies, and initiatives to steer innovation.

Join the URLF to 

Explore a collaborative multi-stakeholder environment involving industry and government

Cultivate new ideas, develop impactful content, and spearhead innovative initiatives

Leverage extensive networking opportunities in over 30 countries

Share expertise through insider visits, peer-to-peer discussions, and global speaking engagements

Access talent, funding agencies and opportunities in global markets

Global Innovation Summit Board Room.jpg

A new phase starts

The University Research and Leadership Forum is embarking on a new initiative to uncover the secrets behind university-anchored high-performing local/regional innovation ecosystems and to create a toolkit to empower universities to drive place-based innovation and expand their impact.


In the coming years, the URLF will execute a series of study trips to university-anchored innovation hubs globally and work with its members to systematize a unique body of knowledge for place-based innovation.

By becoming part of this endeavor, you will join a unique global leadership group and gain access to a range of benefits.

Connect with leaders

Meet leaders from all sectors in exclusive settings and forge new partnerships

Exclusive workshops

Participate in exclusive high-profile discussions and workshops

Innovation hubs

Visit university-anchored innovation hubs globally


Gain insights on innovation and partnership opportunities across nations

Best practices

Identify best practices and co-create a novel toolkit for place-based innovation

Know More

Review the URLF brochure to learn more about the Forum, its remarkable leadership journey, and our upcoming activities and plans. Download now!

Envisioning the Future GFCC
Envisioning the Future GFCC

The URLF’s Journey

The URLF launched in 2016, and, from its inception, aimed to capture, understand, organize, and disseminate “best practices,” and serve as a platform for successful solutions to be scaled up globally. Throughout its history, the URLF has acted as a dynamic think tank, shifting focuses as the global landscape changes. For a more in depth look on what the URLF has accomplished, read below.

2019 - 2022
A Time of Accelerated Transformation

In 2019, URLF members gathered in Astana, Kazakhstan, to envision the future of universities amidst evolving technologies and the innovation economy.

They introduced University 4.0—an impact-oriented, tech
-enabled institution.

A Time of Accelerated Transformation

Collaborating with prestigious universities, the URLF released papers and engaged in online dialogues.

COVID-19 hit in 2020, forcing universities into accelerated transformation.

The URLF analyzed the pandemic's impacts, surveying strategies and models.

The result: "Shift: Universities in Transformation" report—a profound exploration of higher education's future shaped by Covid-19.

A Time of Accelerated Transformation

2016 - 2019
Placing universities at the heart of innovation

The URLF launched in London, uniting 38 university leaders, philanthropists, executives, and policymakers from 20 countries.

It fostered a dialogue on universities' role in driving innovation and transformative tech projects.

Placing universities at the heart of innovation

Two task forces reviewed tools and extreme projects, leading to groundbreaking reports: "Optimizing Innovation Alliance" and "Leveraging Extreme Innovation."

Workshops in Brazil, Russia, Qatar, the U.S., and Kazakhstan further shared findings with communities and stakeholders.

Listen to 2016 URLF inaugural meeting attendees share insights on the significance of URLF's work.

Get Involved

To be included in advancing place-based innovation and enhancing universities' economic influence and impact, fill out the form below. A leader from the GFCC will assist you in setting up a call or send a formal invitation letter.

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