About the New Colombo Plan

Group photo of many NCP scholars in the lobby of Parliament House, Canberra
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What is the New Colombo Plan?

The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

It encourages a two-way flow of students between Australia and the rest of our region, complementing the thousands of students from the region coming to Australia to study each year.

The New Colombo Plan is intended to be transformational, deepening Australia's relationships in the region, both at the individual level and through expanding university, business and other links.

The Australian Government wants study and work-based experiences in the Indo-Pacific to become a rite of passage for young Australian undergraduate students.

In 2014, the New Colombo Plan began as a pilot supporting 40 scholars and more than 1300 mobility students to study and undertake work placements across four pilot locations – Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong.

The New Colombo Plan is now supporting students to study and undertake internships in 40 locations across the Indo-Pacific from South Asia in the west to Mongolia in the north, and the Cook Islands in the east.

Open to all Australian undergraduates across Australia, the New Colombo Plan supports around 10,000 students a year, who represent the diversity of the Australian community.

By the end of 2020, the New Colombo Plan alumni will have grown to around 40,000 young Australians with experience of living, studying and undertaking work experience in the Indo-Pacific.

This growing cohort of scholars and mobility students are all eligible to be part of the New Colombo Plan Alumni Program, which supports alumni to maintain a connection to each other, the New Colombo Plan and the Indo-Pacific region as they progress in their lives and careers.

Over time the growing cohort of New Colombo Plan alumni will play an increasingly important role in Australia's relationships with its neighbours to become an influential and diverse network of Australians with direct experience in the Indo-Pacific, strong professional and personal networks across our region, and a driving force in Australia's future prosperity.

The Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) is the official Patron of the New Colombo Plan.

What kind of study is supported by the New Colombo Plan?

The New Colombo Plan involves a prestigious scholarships program for study of up to one year and internships or mentorships, and a flexible mobility grants program for both short and longer-term study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research. All New Colombo Plan supported study must receive credit towards an Australian undergraduate degree.

For further information on the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program, visit our scholarships page.

For further information on the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, visit our mobility page.

Who can be a New Colombo Plan student?

The New Colombo Plan is open to all Australian undergraduates aged 18 to 28 studying at Australian universities, with capacity to include some students over 28 in New Colombo Plan funded mobility projects.

In which locations can NCP students study?

There are 40 eligible host locations for New Colombo Plan supported study across the Indo-Pacific region.

In alphabetical order these host locations are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.

Why does the New Colombo Plan include internships?

One of the core aims of the New Colombo Plan is to ensure Australia's undergraduates have the skills and work-based experiences to contribute to our domestic and the regional economy.

The New Colombo Plan supports a range of work-based experiences in both our mobility and scholarships programs including internships, mentorships, practicums and clinical placements.

For more information on internships and mentorships supported under the New Colombo Plan, please see the scholarship and mobility guidelines. Businesses interested in hosting interns can find more information on our Business Engagement page and the Internship and Mentorship Network portal.

The New Colombo Plan Reference Group

The New Colombo Plan Reference Group is an external reference body comprised of business representatives, international mobility experts and members of the higher education sector. The Reference Group provides views and insights into program policy and guidelines. The Reference Group is chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and includes an ex-officio representative from the Department of Education and Training.

How to apply/get involved?

Applications for the 2020 round of mobility grants will open in the first quarter of 2019.

University nominations for the 2019 Scholarship round open on 1 July and close on 31 July 2018 and student applications open on 1 August and close on 31 August 2018.

Successful scholars will be announced later in the year.

Last Updated: 19 January 2018