About the New Colombo Plan

NCP scholars in the lobby of Parliament House, Canberra

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.

Over time, the Australian Government wants to see study in the Indo-Pacific region become a rite of passage for Australian undergraduate students, and as an endeavour that is highly valued across the Australian community.

To date, the New Colombo Plan is supporting students to study and undertake internships across the Indo-Pacific from Pakistan in the west to Mongolia in the north, and the Cook Islands in the east.

The New Colombo Plan pilot year of 2014 supported 40 scholars and more than 1300 mobility students to study and undertake work placements across four pilot locations.

In 2015 the New Colombo Plan built on this success, expanding the program across the Indo-Pacific region and awarding 69 scholarships and supporting more than 3,100 mobility students. 

The program continued to grow in 2016, supporting more than 5450 mobility students and 100 scholars to live, study and undertake work placements in the region.

In 2017, the NCP is supporting around 7,400 mobility students and 105 scholarship recipients.

This will bring the total number of students funded by the New Colombo Plan to around 17,500 in the first four years of the program.

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 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 2018 round of mobility grants will open on 20 March 2017 and close on 19 May 2017.

University nominations for the 2018 Scholarship round will open on 1 July and close on 31 July 2017 and student applications open on 1 August and close on 31 August 2017.

Successful applicants for both rounds will be announced later in the year.

Last Updated: 22 December 2016