Leading Universities in Australia & UK Pledge to Strengthen Academic Ties

Australia United Kingdom Oceania Higher Education News by Erudera News Feb 15, 2022

United Kingdom

The leading research-intensive universities in Australia and the United Kingdom have pledged commitment to work together and strengthen academic ties following the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the Group of Eight (Go8) representing top universities in Australia, has announced.

In a joint letter sent to foreign and trade ministers in two countries, the Chairs of the Group of Eight (Go8) and the Russell Group which represents 24 leading UK universities, said that they are planning to establish a new committee that will look at opportunities to increase research collaboration, to boost trade and investment as well as to support the economic growth, Erudera.com reports.

“Proposals to maximise the new opportunities created by the FTA include a strategic alliance on research and innovation based on shared research strengths; facilitating student and researcher mobility; removing barriers to commercialisation between researchers and industry partners; and cutting bureaucracy through shared IP, data sharing agreements, and minimising travel restrictions,” Go8 statement reads.

Commenting on the matter, the Chief Executive of the Russell Group, Tim Bradshaw, said that Australia is one of the closest partners of the UK in research, and academic ties between the two countries can be strengthened through the free trade agreement.

“People and ideas will be at the heart of our economic recovery and future growth, so we’re excited to work with our Go8 partners in Australia to explore how the Free Trade Agreement could help bring down barriers to talent flow and enhance research and commercial activity between our two countries,” Bradshaw said. 

Furthermore, Chief Executive of the Group of Eight, Vicki Thomson, said that FTA offers an important opportunity to foster partnership between Australia and the UK in terms of higher education and research as well as to deliver tangible social and economic benefits to both countries.

According to her, strengthening cooperation with “like-minded countries” through the Australia-UK FTA and the trilateral AUKUS partnership is crucial during the era of geopolitical change.

In their letter, Chairs of Go8 and the Russell Group said that in line with the key opportunities linked to the FTA, a joint committee will further develop ideas and hold its first meeting soon.

The joint letter was signed by Margaret Gardner (Chair, Group of Eight) and Dame Nancy Rothwell (Chair, Russell Group). Australia and UK signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in December 2021. 

The United Kingdom was Australia’s third academic collaborator during the period between 2016 and 2020, while Australia was UK’s fifth most frequent academic partner.

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