Monash and Melbourne Double Down on Indonesia

Opportunities for students in the Aus-Indo space are soaring as investment in Indonesia from two of Australia’s premier universities reach unprecedented levels. 

Cross-institutional educational opportunities between Australia and Indonesia are the best they have ever been, with two recent developments from Monash University and the University of Melbourne boding well for young Australians eager to make their mark in the Aus-Indo space.  

Monash to become first foreign university in Indonesia 

In October 2021, Monash University will become the first overseas higher education institution to open a campus in Indonesia. Offering postgraduate and doctoral programs – either virtually or in person depending on the pandemic – the new campus is intended to become a vehicle for greater Australia-Indonesia collaboration in key areas such as health, infrastructure, technology and public policy. 

Of note is that the campus will be co-located with global and national companies to build strong educational and research links. Professor MacIntyre, Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor (Southeast Asia Partnerships), says the planned campus has the potential to significantly impact skills through working with some top industry partners.

“We want to keep building capability and capacity in areas such as urban development, public policy, information technology, and business innovation,” Professor MacIntyre comments. “We have a huge opportunity to support Indonesia’s development objectives and make a positive difference to our region.”

The new campus follows the University’s revitalisation of its Indonesia strategy in 2015, which focused on improving Monash’s involvement in Indonesia in big policy areas. Professor Abid Khan, Deputy Vice-President and Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) noted, “The time was right to imagine a bigger presence for Monash in Indonesia. We wanted to collaborate with industry and other organisations, and this led to discussions about graduate and doctoral programs in areas that are important to Indonesia’s economic and urban growth.”

The extension into Indonesia cements Monash as Australia’s most global university, with four campuses in Australia, a campus in Malaysia, as well as overseas alliances in China, India, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Melbourne University’s Engaging Indonesia strategy now in full swing

Despite disruptions caused by the pandemic, the University of Melbourne’s Engaging Indonesia Strategy 2020-2024 is proceeding to plan.  

The strategy is an institutional first that aims to build closer partnerships in Indonesia, increase joint research projects and help develop a world-class higher education system in Indonesia.

The University of Melbourne will play a key role in health security partnerships between Indonesia and Australia, develop joint research initiatives in agriculture and food sustainability, build better knowledge of law and policy reform processes in Indonesia, and foster understanding of Indonesian society and culture. The strategy sees the University becoming a pre-eminent source of expertise, impacting policy setting and debate, and promoting greater understanding between Australia and Indonesia.

The strategy is based on four key initiatives in cooperation with Indonesian government, universities and partners:

  1. The University of Melbourne Indonesia Post-Doctoral Program: A flagship post-doctoral program offering world-class academic training for aspiring Indonesian scholars.
  2. A Melbourne Professional Education Centre: A venue for the University’s increasingly popular training offerings in areas ranging from infrastructure project finance to statelessness.
  3. An Indo-Pacific One Health Network: Work with Indonesian partners to jointly develop a model for a ‘One Health’ research centre intended for replication across ASEAN.
  4. A Melbourne-Indonesia ‘Graduate School’: An expanded offering of joint degrees with Indonesian partners will prepare a generation of graduates to move easily between Australia and Indonesia while engaged in key shared issues such as governance, health systems and poverty alleviation.

Launching the strategy late last year, newly appointed Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell revealed a strong commitment to fostering closer connections between the two neighbours, remarking that “The University of Melbourne aspires to lead the expansion of educational and academic cooperation between Australia and Indonesia.” The Vice-Chancellor described Indonesia’s leading universities as “our anchor in Indonesia, providing a channel for research and educational exchange and the conduit through which we engage with the broader Indonesian university community.”

Australia’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Gary Quinlan, lauded the strategy as a “great example of the way Australian education providers can develop closer ties and create opportunities for researchers, students and governments that will extend for decades to come.” The Ambassador noted further, “Education cooperation will play a central role in our longer-term relationship with Indonesia.”

Alongside the formalisation of the IA-CEPA trade deal earlier this year, the unprecedented commitment of Monash University and the University of Melbourne to invest strongly in creating new educational opportunities in Indonesia should make students very optimistic about undertaking a career in the Aus-Indo space. The future looks bright.

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