June 11, 2013

Australia’s Innovative Universities in Asia

Australia’s Innovative Universities in Asia, released today, shows how IRU members have led universities’ engagement with Asia since the 1960s.

“Our Universities have been engaged in Asia since foundation. We had the first Asian Studies degree and were among the first to offer languages Asian languages and to set up research Centres focused at Asian countries and the region” says Professor Barney Glover, Chair IRU and Vice-Chancellor, Charles Darwin University.

“Over 2013 and 2014 IRU members will build on our strong foundation to deliver:

  • a wider range of courses and practicums in Asia, using the presence of other Australian students to overcome the challenges that living in Asia can pose;
  • an IRU Asian Languages Network, to overcome the pressure on individual languages in each university. This will support both:
    • strong interest in degree majors in Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian and Hindi; and
    • a diploma in languages available for students of all degrees; and
  • improved research linkages, in particular with Malaysia, China, and Indonesia.”

“We welcome that engagement with Asia is finally a bi-partisan objective. The expertise and experience of IRU Members can help drive this outcome crucial to Australia’s future prosperity.”

The IRU members make a significant contribution to engaging with Asia in four major ways.

First we educate significant numbers of Asian citizens. During the first 10 years of this century we graduated over 72,000 students who retain connections with Australia via friends, colleagues and alumni networks. Currently we have more than 30,000 students from Asian countries enrolled in our universities.

Second, we build Australian students’ capability through Asian focused content in our degrees and supporting Australian students to study and practice in Asian countries. 37% of our students who travel overseas for study travel to countries in Asia – the top four destinations being China, Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong.

Third, we collaborate with Asia’s researchers targeting major issues in tropical health, environmental sciences and agriculture and veterinary sciences. 12% of our research publications are co-authored with collaborators from countries in Asia.

Fourth we assist development in countries such as Timor-Leste, assisting them on the path to match the outcomes of other Asian counties.