A mutual passion for sporting excellence has enhanced Australia’s education and trade relationship with India and led to Victoria University securing a contract with the Government of Punjab in November last year.
This will help provide a sustainable sports ecosystem to support talent identification, athletes’ long-term development, and a sports participation plan targeting the broader community.
Australia-India Memorandum of Understanding
Australia and India signed an MoU in 2014 paving the way for cooperation in sport between the two nations. The MoU, facilitated by DFAT and Austrade, allows for direct negotiation between the relevant Indian state governments and Australian institutions. Previously, Australian institutions had to apply through a public tender process for government consultancy work, where tenders were decided on the lowest cost bid, all but ruling out any meaningful Australian participation.
Utilising the MoU, Austrade identified the sports education and development project in Punjab in January 2015. Over the following 22 months, the Australian Government facilitated introductions and negotiations between the two organisations in close collaboration with the Australia-India Council. The AIC funded a program enabling
Victoria University to conduct sports workshops in India to showcase its expertise and develop relationships.
Working with Punjab Institute of Sports
Over the next two years, Victoria University will analyse Punjab’s sports systems and develop a ten-year master project plan covering twelve sports. The university will also share its sport science expertise through intensive education classes to upskill coaches and teachers, and implement student exchange programs with Punjab’s three state universities.
From the third year onwards, Victoria University will identify opportunities for a joint Master’s degree and Doctor of Philosophy projects, covering the development of high-performance protocols and curriculums covering nutrition, biomechanics and skills acquisition.
Dr Camilla Brockett, Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living says the Australia-India sports MoU has created unprecedented opportunities for Australian sporting institutions in India.
‘With DFAT and Austrade providing strategic facilitation, Indian governments have been exposed to world-leading Australian expertise in sports policy, business, science and education,’ she says.
‘Victoria University has a division dedicated to international sports consultancy, helping to advance the University’s global research impact and industry engagement which in turn, is expanding our expertise and providing unique career pathways.
‘After a number of years developing relationships with Indian stakeholders, Victoria University is now growing its India engagement portfolio including undertaking a major project at this year’s Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, the largest marathon in Asia,’ adds Dr Brockett.
The Australian government is working with Victoria University to promote its capabilities to other Indian states.
Austrade’s Mumbai-based Trade Commissioner Tom Calder says Victoria University’s contract with the Punjab Institute of Sports is a significant step in advancing Australia India sports cooperation.
“The Indian sports ecosystem is developing quickly and Australian organisations are well placed to provide expertise in sports technology, training, consultancy and education,” he said.
“Austrade is supporting other businesses to access opportunities across the government and corporate space in India to assist in developing sports expertise from the elite level down to grassroots programs.”