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Monash and Warwick form global alliance

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2 February 2012

Professor Ed Byrne AO, Vice-Chancellor of Monash University
Professor Ed Byrne AO, Vice-Chancellor of Monash University

The University of Warwick (UK) and Monash University (Australia) have signed a new agreement to create an alliance between the two universities that will clearly establish both as “globally networked universities”.

Vice-Chancellor for Warwick Professor Nigel Thrift and Vice-Chancellor for Monash Professor Ed Byrne, believe the new partnership will help meet the increasing student, industry and government demand for universities to produce graduates with a global education, and undertake research that aims to address world relevant and strategically important problems that have proved too big for any one institution to address.

A core priority of the alliance is to deliver a seamless international experience for students and prepare them for life in a globally integrated labour market. The Warwick Monash partnership will develop a range of jointly delivered degrees with students undertaking study at both universities. Monash’s Professor Ed Byrne said: 

“More and more we’re finding that students expect an international aspect to their degree and industry are demanding that graduates can operate in the global environment from day one.”

Monash and Warwick have enjoyed a strong and productive relationship over many years - particularly through joint research projects - however the new alliance takes that relationship to a much deeper level. Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Nigel Thrift said:

“Monash is a compelling partner for Warwick. Both were born in the 1960s, and from their earliest days they have been recognised as pioneering universities, renowned for a fast-paced innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit that has brought rapid success and quickly built strong global reputations.”

“Each University brings their own network of international locations that will enhance the other's position as globally connected universities. I believe that this will be a highly sought after model for research led universities. The world will sustain perhaps 50 such globally networked research-heavy universities which exist in many locations, do research in many locations, and which will produce students who will live, learn and research in many locations."

Professor Byrne added:

“Higher Education is in a state of great transition globally. Twenty years from now the definition of a university and the nature of tertiary education will be vastly different from what it is today. 

"We’re moving towards a future where globally networked university ‘systems’ will be needed to meet rapidly increasing demand in research and education. This alliance anticipates this need and delivers both universities an important first-mover advantage."

The partners have identified several research areas that are ready to go. Sustainable chemistry, cultural connectivity, tropical medicine, advanced materials, behavioural economics, business and social policy are all areas where the universities have highly complementary skills and capabilities and where there is known demand for innovative ideas and knowledge globally.

The first ‘building-block’ initiatives for the new partnership include:

  • A commitment to jointly invest at least £2 million (3.2 million Australian Dollars) to create at least 10 new joint senior academic posts. Ten posts will also be created in each institution which existing staff can apply for.

  • New joint PhDs and dual Masters programmes in areas of strategic importance.

  •  Warwick’s Undergraduate Research Scheme will be expanded to include Monash students. The scheme provides bursaries of up to £1000 to allow undergraduate students to undertake a short research project. Monash students will also join the board of the scheme’s associated journal “Reinvention” and contribute to that journal.

  • Opening nominations for Warwick’s biennial Prize for Writing to Monash staff and students with a view to also announcing the winner and awarding the next such prize in Australia in 2013.

  • Development of “virtual mobility” between the two universities through interdisciplinary modules, online learning and other activities to be delivered online.

The two universities also aim to create a joint senior academic leadership position to take responsibility for the new partnership.  

These are just the first actions of the new partnership and further developments will be announced later in 2012-13.