Following a UK-Australia roundtable of Vice-Chancellors on Friday 2 March, Universities UK and Universities Australia will work together to progress the following joint initiatives:
Increasing mobility of UK and Australian students and graduates to enhance global employability and skills;
Pursuing the mutual recognition of academic and professional qualifications, to support the free flow of talent and ideas; and
Combining UK and Australian research and innovation capability to drive national and global growth, prosperity and security.
The next stage of this ongoing work between university leaders and their sector bodies will be to prepare a mapping report. It will identify areas of comparative strength in the relationship, along with those that would benefit from more focused attention and investment.
UA and UUK will also engage professional and statutory bodies to assess where the recognition of professional qualifications is already well advanced, and where this could be improved.
The mapping exercise will aim to draw out those areas in which existing collaboration between UK and Australian universities and research institutes support declared priorities for national economic development and prosperity. This includes under Australia’s National Innovation and Science Agenda and the UK’s Industrial Strategy. It would also aim to pick up opportunities at the state level in Australia and in the UK devolved administrations and regional objectives.
A future UK-Australia trade agreement could be one possible mechanism to recognise bilateral collaboration in skills, higher education, research and innovation at the highest level between the two governments.
Ahead of formal negotiations, following the UK’s exit from the European Union, Universities UK and Universities Australia will engage closely with the higher education and research communities, and with agencies and government departments. These engagements will seek to ensure that the importance of higher education and research to the UK and Australian economies is well understood and to identify the areas of shared mutual interest which should feature in any future agreements.