Australia’s critical trade and cultural development relationship with India got a boost with the Australia-India Strategic Fund (AISRF) announcing funding worth $10 million for collaborative projects.
The decision came after bilateral meetings between Minister for Higher Education Senator Kim Carr and Indian Minister for Human Resource Development Dr Pallam Raju at the annual Austral-India Ministerial Dialogue on Education Cooperation and the second Australia India Education Council (AIEC) events.
Senator Carr said the ministerial dialogue underscored Australia and India’s capabilities and objectives in education and training.
The minsters acknowledged that the growing knowledge partnership in education, training, science and research had developed strong and expanding people-to–people links, which were at the heart of the strategic relationship.
“If we are to maximise the gains from our position it is essential that we recognise and support each others strengths in order to lift economic performance, at both a national and individual level, and boost both countries’ economic prosperity,” said Senator Carr.
The ministers jointly chaired the second meeting of the AIEC, which was formed to advance the Australia-India education relationship across focus areas including student mobility, higher education institutional collaboration and joint research, quality assurance, and skills.
“The Council has given strategic direction to our bilateral education and training goals and it is encouraging to see how well the projects under the key focus areas have progressed since the first meeting in August 2011,” Senator Carr said.
Senator Carr also announced funding for four major Australian-Indian research projects to tackle pressing challenges in health and energy.
Federal Member for Greenway Michelle Rowland has welcomed the announcement for collaborative research projects. She said this again showed the strength of the Australia-India relationship and highlighted the Rudd Government’s commitment to the relationship.
“This is great news for one of our most important bi-lateral relationships,” Ms Rowland said, and added that the additional $10 million from the AISRF Grand Challenge Fund, to support Australian partners on four new collaborative projects, will build on existing research links and go towards finding solutions to some of our greatest social challenges.
“By working together we aim to deliver innovative and practical responses to some of the major challenges facing both countries — exploring new methods to develop low carbon energy sources and looking at how we can improve patient care and diagnosis through innovative science,” said Ms Rowland.
The $64 million AISRF has supported more than 100 projects and workshops, involving more than 80 leading Australian and Indian universities and research institutions, since it began. The Government of India supports Indian teams’ participation in these joint projects.