Forging the Australia-India knowledge partnership

3 April 2017

Australia and India share aspirations that no country can reach alone. We both want to be at the global frontier of achievements in science, innovation and technology.

But to do this we need to forge a knowledge partnership that creates jobs, drives growth and modernises both of our economies. So what does this mean in practice?

We already have a solid foundation to become global

knowledge leaders Our top universities, research institutes and end-users of scientific innovation, including hospitals and industry, already work collaboratively together. This needs to continue.

One example is the Australia- India Strategic Research Fund, now in its tenth year. The Research Fund has supported more than 300 research projects and other joint activities that have contributed to preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, improving agricultural productivity and new discoveries in astronomy.

We need to continue to solve problems together

Australian solar manufacturer Dye-sol, for example, is working with Tata Steel to integrate its highly efficient solar power technology into walls, roofs and windows. This promises enormous benefits to the world.

Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences are together developing a smart helmet designed for hot weather that will be light, with cooling and connections to smart phones.

Australia is working closely with India and other international partners to develop the world’s largest radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), to be co-located in Australia and South Africa. The SKA will handle a data stream greater than today’s entire global internet traffic as it discovers how the first stars and galaxies formed. For the first time, the SKA will allow us to test Einstein’s theories about the gravity of black holes and change our understanding of the laws of physics.

Increasingly, collaboration features female scientists from Australia and India. Improving women’s participation in science and research is a priority for both nations. We want women and girls to access the opportunities that these fields will offer in tomorrow’s economy.

That is why the Australian Government is funding a range of programs to encourage girls to study science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine and to support women to build successful careers in these fields.

The Australian mindset of informality and directness augers well with our culture. We consider Australia as our home and are always welcome here.

Australia, with its excellent education infrastructure and research facilities, is a bedrock for innovation.

Girish Ramachandran President Asia Pacific, Tata Consultancy Services

We need to build on our strong education ties

Education and skills collaboration is already one of the most successful aspects of Australia’s relationship with India, but we can play a bigger role in India’s contemporary education system.

Australia released its first National Strategy for International Education 2025 in April 2016. The Strategy enables Australia’s international education sector to be more innovative, future-focused and globally engaged.

The Modi Government has embarked on an ambitious program to train 400 million people by 2022, and is seeking support from Australia. Our industry-led vocational education and training system, qualifications and training providers are world-class and already looking at innovative ways to adapt business models to India’s skills ecosystem.

Australia also has expertise to share in the area of quality assurance. All our higher education institutions are held to the same high quality standards, and more than half of our universities perform in the top 500 of global university ranking systems.

The Australian Government supports two-way mobility of students through a range of programs including Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships, Endeavour Mobility Grants and the New Colombo Plan (NCP). The fostering of people-to-people links is a key strategic priority for the Australian Government.

The students supported under these programs make a significant contribution to Australian society. They also return to India with an understanding of Australia that fosters collaboration and enduring economic links into the future.

Australia is the world’s thirteenth largest economy with significant emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. India is the third largest start-up ecosystem and fastest-growing major economy in the world. The growing appetite for Indian start-ups to scale globally makes Australia a natural partner.

Neeraj Gupta, co-founder and director at Excubator and FormulateIP and a delegate at the Australia India Youth Dialogue 2017

Our knowledge partnership will open doors into futures we cannot even imagine today

Both Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel have challenged Australia to ‘get to the future first’. A strong partnership with India is essential to meeting this goal, as together we become global knowledge leaders.

Last Updated: 3 April 2017