The University of Melbourne launched its five-year India strategy ‘Engaging with India 2020-2024’—highlighting collaboration in health, water, law, cultural arts and postgraduate teaching and learning.
The University’s strategy reinforces long-term commitments to strong Indian partnerships, joint research and collaborative teaching and learning models that address global key challenges and deliver mutual benefit for Australian and Indian societies. The strategy also aims to lift the capacity, quality and impact of research, which supports India’s stated goals in its draft New Education Policy.
It is envisaged that the strategy will strengthen collaborations of mutual interest; expand the quality and impact of research; develop graduates with the capabilities and experience to engage meaningfully with Indian counterparts across academia, government, business and civil society; and create opportunities for Indian partners to share their expertise in Australia.
The strategy will focus on five pillars: (1) Healthy; (2) Sustainable; (3) Innovative and technologically sophisticated; (4) Equal, inclusive and well governed; and (5) Share an appreciation and understanding of one another’s place in the world. These five pillars will be the focus for funding and high-level engagement between the two countries and will build upon existing relationships and projects, as well as new initiatives in arts, social sciences, and humanities. Some of the key initiatives the University is aiming to work with its Indian partners are:
Health: Co-develop an allied health program with Indian partner institutions and expand opportunities in digital health research for chronic disease management.
Water: Develop collaborations in integrated water management, specifically with university researchers and the Indian Ministry of Power.
Law: Establish the Indian Equality Law Program and explore pathways to provide educational mobility opportunities.
Arts: Establish a portfolio of teaching and learning opportunities about India and leverage the University’s expertise in visual and performing arts, music and literature.
Teaching and learning: Expand the breadth and depth of the Melbourne-India Postgraduate Academy and expand blended teaching and learning programs.
Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said the new Engaging with India 2020-2024 strategy confirms the University’s intention to expand and deepen its relationship and activities in India.
“The University is committed to building on its strong foundation of partnerships in India,” Professor Maskell said. “We will work to strengthen our long-standing ties and accelerate collaborations with our Indian partners to address shared social and scientific global challenges. Issues such as climate change, water management, health and food security are just some of the shared global challenges facing both countries. The new strategy will enable academics across varied fields of study to continue to work in partnership with our colleagues in India, curating significant research relationships, developing grants, co-authoring publications and executing significant research projects.”
The University’s engagement with India will concentrate on Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka, as well as regional areas—Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Her Excellency Ms Harinder Sidhu welcomed the University of Melbourne’s new strategy and acknowledged the importance of Australia’s higher education sector in the Australia-India relationship. “There is currently a high tempo of engagement between Australia and India. Following the release of the India Economic Strategy in 2018, I’m pleased to see another focused strategy to support our bilateral engagement,” Ms Sidhu said.
The University’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Shitij Kapur said: “Our engagement in India reflects the broader ideals of the University and its ability to make a difference in society. We contribute to the capacity and wellbeing of international communities and institutions through collaborative research and teaching.”
Established in 1853, the University of Melbourne is a public-spirited institution that makes distinctive contributions to society in research, learning and teaching and engagement. It’s consistently ranked among the leading universities in the world, with international rankings of world universities placing it as number 1 in Australia and number 32 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2017-2018).