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University partnerships building the bridges to Asia



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SENATOR THE HON CHRIS EVANS Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

MEDIA RELEASE

30 October 2012

University partnerships building the bridges to Asia

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) and China’s most prestigious universities have signed new strategic research partnerships, leading the way for further engagement in the Asian Century.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, today announced that USQ has established two formal partnerships in key research areas - climate and agricultural innovation and green fibre composite materials.

“Universities will play a crucial role in ensuring Australians can take advantage of the opportunities the Asian Century presents,” Senator Evans said.

“USQ is already developing key research links with Chinese universities and working to expand that partnership into the Asian Century.

“It makes sense to share our brightest and best minds through partnerships and exchanges - that’s why the Gillard Government is working to strengthen science, research and industry links with our regional neighbours.

“Through knowledge and innovation, our nations will be better placed to meet the joint challenges of the future.”

Senator Evans said a number of Australian universities are forging and extending key research partnerships with their Asian counterparts including:

A collaboration on soil carbon and nitrogen cycling between Griffith University and Guangdong Institute of Eco-Environment and Soil Science; A partnership between Swinburne University of Technology and Tsinghua University in the field of green photonics; A project between Australian National University and Jiangnan University on advanced

materials with industrial applications; and Commercial engagement between CSIRO and 19 companies in China.

“The Gillard Government is determined to continue our long history with Asia and to continue to strengthen links between our best researchers and our universities.

“We have made important reforms to research funding programs to make it easier for Australian researchers to work with their counterparts overseas and for talented international researchers to take up fellowships in Australia.

“In 1990, we had a total of 200 academic and research collaborations, students and staff exchanges, which grew exponentially to 7000 in 2012.

“Our future prosperity will depend on innovation driven by collaboration between industry, investors, researchers and entrepreneurs who are connected to the fast growing and developing Asian region.”

Last year, the Prime Minister announced a new Australia-China Science and Research Fund.

The fund will support joint research activities between Australia and China with funding on the Australian side of $9 million over three years, matched by the Chinese Government.

In addition, the Gillard Government’s $64 million Australia-India Strategic Research Fund has already supported more than 90 collaborative projects with 50 Indian institutions and 28 Australian universities and research organisations.

Australian research bodies also administer hundreds of programs with international components.

In 2011, Cooperative Research Centres were part of 75 collaborations with Asian countries, including 28 with China - the fifth highest of any country - in the areas of biosecurity, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, technology, the environment and medical science.

USQ received $85,000 in Commonwealth funding for two missions to establish the formal partnerships with their Chinese counterparts.

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: Amy McKenna 0408 570 603