McDonnell Academy International Symposium

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person proceedings of the 8th International Symposium will be postponed to fall 2021. We will, however, hold a virtual session on October 8, 2020. Please see link below for details.


The world is experiencing dramatic changes in many ways, including social, environmental, political, and technological forces. Research universities play a critical role in helping to understand and shape these forces. Given their scope and impact, collaborative work involving faculty across countries is key, as is the work of faculty from many different disciplines.

It is in this spirit we announce the next McDonnell Academy International Symposium.


The symposium consists of faculty-driven workshops, intended to advance collaborative research. Faculty from McDonnell Academy partner institutions are key participants, along with scholars from other institutions. In addition to the focused workshops, plenary sessions consider the broader topics from a cross-disciplinary perspective and include participants from the workshops. 

Forces Reshaping the World

This theme provides the concept to stimulate conversations amongst faculty across disciplines and workshops focused on the following thematic areas: big data and emerging technologies, vulnerable populations and our planet at risk.

The future of research universities will depend on how successful they are in taking on these forces in terms of research, innovation, and teaching. This will require collaboration not only within institutions but among premier research universities from around the globe. By bringing together its partner institutions the McDonnell Academy hopes to contribute to this ambitious mission.

The FAQ Symposium page is a good resource for common questions. Additional questions about the symposium can be directed to Laura Benoist, Associate Director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy at

The university is tracking COVID-19. Get updates at WashUTogether.

The summary below provides an overview of the value and impact of the 7th Symposium, and highlights collaborative accomplishments and key outcomes.

7th International Symposium Highlights