By Eugene Sebastian
Monash University has been recognised at the 2014 Australian Latin American Business Council (ALABC) business excellence awards in Brisbane this week.
At a ceremony hosted by Jose Blanco, president, Australia-Latin America Business Council (ALABC), Monash was presented with the award for excellence in doing business with Latin America.
ALABC singled out Monash for the depth and breadth of its extensive connections in the Latin America. The council also recognised Monash for the clear and innovative approaches it is taking in cultivating long-term and strategic relations in the region.
“Monash’s engagement with Latin America is research-led”, says Professor Abid Khan, Deputy Vice Chancellor Global Engagement.
“Our strategy is influenced by our interest in extending and deepening our collaborative links in the region that is not only transforming its economies but investing significantly in education and innovation.”
Over the last five years, more Latin American countries are investing in higher education and training. The emphasis is in the science, technology, engineering and medicine fields.
The Brazilian government is the largest STEM spender. Its Science Without Borders scholarships program is a bold attempt to lift its economy and address a serious shortage of engineering, health sciences, life sciences and technology graduates.
Since its introduction in 2012, the government has nearly reached its target of 101,000 students abroad. Recently it announced another 100,000 scholarships investment. Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Mexico have also taken action to invest in scholarships.
Monash is benefiting from the growth in Latin American student flow and research interactions.
Over the last five years, Monash has grown the number of high quality sponsored students and built links with universities, government agencies and industry.
Monash already attracts the largest number of Brazilian scholars. Its numbers have grown from 12 in 2012 to over 550 in 2014.
“The Brazilian students have transformed the vibe on our campuses”, says Professor Khan.
“They add richness and diversity to on-campus life and learning. Our researchers are enthusiastic and keen to have more Brazilian PhD students. When they complete their doctoral research, these students become that invaluable research bridge between Australia and Brazil”.
Monash researchers work closely with Latin America’s best institutions. Monash’s Institute of Railway Technology (IRT) is a key partner to Brazil’s mining giant Vale. IRT is providing technical assistance valued at over AU$3 million to keep its trains on track.
Monash is trialling in Colombia and Brazil it’s innovative biological control approach to reducing dengue transmission from mosquitos to humans. Brazil leads the world in the number of dengue cases, with 3.2 million cases and 800 deaths reported in the 2009-14 period.
Our links with Brazil’s best universities, University of Sao Paulo and University of Campinas continue to strengthen around medicine, engineering, film-making and music.
In Chile, Monash and the Universidad Diego Portales hosted a major international conference early this year in Chile addressing policies and practices in Early Childhood Education. The conference attracted participation from across the region.