By Eugene Sebastian
A couple of months ago, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade called for submissions that would help inform its whole-of-Australia approach to developing country strategies with the five Asia Pacific priority countries: China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea. Nearly 250 submissions were submitted.
One submission from Monash University recommended 5 ways the Australian government could help universities engage with the region:
1. Creating collaborative ‘innovation-based’ partnerships and networks to tackle large application oriented projects
This would involve placing innovation at the top of Australia’s bilateral agenda and mutually advancing large- scale research programs (multidisciplinary and multi-institutional teams) that brings scale and complementary skills in support of large application-oriented projects that are entirely focused on people’s needs: eg. health, security, communication, energy and the environment
2. Taking a strategic approach to Asia’s research connectivity
Developing an integrated federal strategy that aligns government, the university sector, research organisations and industry collectively to focus on strategic ways in which to create critical mass research collaborations. Establishing an Asia-Australia equivalent of the European Union Framework Program for Research and Innovation as a flagship platform is an example.
3. Critical mass for industry is shifting dramatically to Asia
Traditional ‘hotspots’ for business is moving to Asia – eg, biotech in India, pharmaceuticals in China and India. Australia needs to be part of the development and supply chain of industry shifting to Asia.
Supporting universities to strongly and strategically engage industry in research, education and training.
4. Encouraging increased researcher mobility
Creating opportunities for researchers to be involved in addressing the region’s biggest challenges.
Supporting programs that build and maintain long-term connections. An equivalent of the European Marie Curie scheme would enable long-term collaboration. The Scheme is overt about career development and linkages. It encourages researchers to spend 2-3 years abroad, yet bond them back to their country and institution
5. Strengthening Australia’s ‘front-end’ alumni engagement
Universities are at the ‘front-end’ of alumni engagement.
Working closely with the university sector to cement for example, appropriate alumni clusters around certain issues and challenges.
Accessing alumni business networks in support of industry engagement.
linked document outlining 5 ways to engage with Asia’s innovation century