University seeks new links with South America

7 March 2012

Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence is leading a Group of Eight delegation to South America to strengthen links with a region that is fast becoming an important education partner for Australia.

The delegation will visit Chile and Brazil next week for meetings with university leaders and education officials in Santiago, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo.

Dr Spence said: "Australia's links with South America have flourished in the last decade and we are keen to explore new areas of cooperation and engagement.

"We are interested in building long-term relationships, and it is important for us to focus on partnershipsthat bring mutual benefits and broaden our research base."

Also taking part in the delegation are Professor John Hearn, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor International; Professor Bruce Robinson, the Dean of Medicine; and Ms Sandra Meiras, the Director of International Services.

Many Go8 universities already have links with the region's top research-intensive universities such as the University of Sao Paulo, the University of Chile and the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile.

From 2004 to 2009 the number of agreements between Australian and South American universities almost trebled, from 80 to 230. During the same period the number of South American students across all sectors in Australia grew from 7000 to more than 30,000.

In Chile the delegates will meet representatives from CONICYT, the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research, and members of the Chilean university rectors' group, CRUCH.

In Brazil the primary focus of the visit is a meeting with the Ministry of Education to follow up on the Science without Borders program recently announced by President Dilma Roussef. This will invest $2 billion in scholarships to send 100,000 Brazilian students to the world's best universities. The program aims to increase Brazil's capacity in the knowledge economy, scientific production and technological innovation.

Michael Gallagher, executive director of the Go8, said: "There is considerable interest across South America in partnering with Australian universities in double degrees, student exchange and research collaborations.

"Our leading universities have an excellent reputation in the region, but there is still much work to be done in the area of qualifications recognition which can be very complex in South America."

Contact: Ms Sandra Meiras

Phone: 02 9036 6110

Email: 030f0250272a54005c59350e072d3234331d0628660e2c01402212