In December, Australian and Chinese government ministers signed a new higher education and research agreement which will see six new joint research centres opened across Australia.
Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and China, Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, and Chinese Vice Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Wang Zhigang, announced the six new joint research centres, established under the Australia-China Science and Research Fund, for Curtin University of Technology, Monash University, Murdoch University, The University of NSW, The University of Melbourne and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
Both governments are providing a total of $5 million to support the joint research centres.
The announcement was part of a visit by a Chinese delegation, headed by State Councilor Madame Liu Yandong, Minister of Education Mr Yuan Guiren and Mr Wang to Australia in December.
“A two-way flow of researchers, students and information between Australia and China is vital to driving higher collaboration between our countries,” said Mr Evans.
“It builds on our long history of cooperation and sets out a path to further strengthen ties between educators and researchers in both of our countries.”
The joint research centres will support collaboration between universities and research agencies in environmental science, energy, sustainable futures, agriculture and biological sciences, engineering and materials science.
Senator Evans and Mr Yuan also signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Education, Training and Higher Education Research.
“Over the past 40 years, education links have been the forefront of developing this important relationship and this renewed memorandum of understanding will ensure it continues,” Senator Evans said.
Senator Evans said the announcement supports the Gillard Government’s efforts to ensure young Australians were well placed to take advantage of deepening engagement with Asia.
“The next generation of Australian leaders will need to be increasingly Asian-literate and these are skills best learnt by experiencing Asia first-hand,” he said.
Around 90,000 Chinese students participated in educational opportunities in Australia last year, while only 3000 Australian students took up university study in China. ■
Joint Research Centres:
– Curtin University’s Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Energy
– Monash University’s Australia-China Research Centre for Light Metals in partnership with China’s Central-South University.
– Murdoch University’s Australia-China Centre for Wheat Improvement in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
– The University of New South Wales Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Mineral, Mettalurgy and Materials (3-M Centre) in partnership with the China Iron and Steel Research Institute Group.
– The University of Melbourne’s Australia-China Research Centre on River Basin Management (water resources and water quality) in partnership with several Australian water departments and organizations including the CSIRO and 10 partners in China, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (Ministry of Water Resources), the Tsinghua University, and the Yellow River Conservation Committee and China Three Gorges Corporation.
– The ANSTO-SINAP Joint Materials Research Centre in partnership with the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP).