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Asia

Connecting with Asia's leading universities
The rise of Asia’s universities has been a dominant trend in international higher education. The University is at the forefront of building partnerships with our closest neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region.

In the past three years our researchers have produced more than 30,000 co-authored publications with academics from Asian universities and institutions, primarily in China, Japan, India, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.

To date we have run 26 rounds of competitive funding with our Asian partners, committing more than $1.6 million to support joint research, early-career mobility and collaborative workshops. In all we have supported 118 projects, involving 187 University of Sydney academics.

We have signed or renewed 10 agreements with universities across Hong Kong, mainland China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and India.

Our partners in Asia

Our partnership with the Chinese Academy of Science, China’s national academy for the natural sciences and the world’s largest research organisation, was signed in 2021.

The partnership will focus collaborative research in fields of common interest, for example including data and mathematical sciences, agriculture and food sciences technology, water, environment & sustainability, and biomedical sciences, including cancer, chronic and infectious diseases. 

Chinese Agricultural University and the University of Sydney signed a partnership agreement in 2020 and allowing the two universities to work and collaborate in the fields of agricultural sciences.

Research collaborators from the University of Sydney include the faculties of Science at the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering.  

Under our partnership with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, both universities commit $50,000 per year for three years to collaborative projects, including joint research and staff/student mobility.

We have signed an agreement to set up a joint big data lab for integrative medicine and have created a short-term faculty exchange program that will provide mobility funding for up to four Sydney academics working with partners at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The University of Sydney and Fudan University signed a partnership agreement in May 2019 that will establish a Brain and Intelligence Science Alliance between the two universities.

Research will focus on cognitive neuroscience and brain disorders, along with the ethical implications of artificial intelligence.

The two universities have also agreed to make funding available on a competitive basis for joint research and education projects, to be judged by academic panels from Sydney and Fudan.

Our partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay was established in 2019 and focuses on data science and STEM.

Under the partnership both universities have committed to encouraging both academic and research student mobility, and to develop opportunities for joint supervision of students.

Our partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras was signed in 2015 and focuses on the development of interventions at the point of care using modern engineering and technology approaches to address fundamental health and medical issues, as well as providing a vision for a transformational change in medicine, health and engineering.

The University of Sydney and Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) signed a partnership agreement in 2021.

The health-themed partnership has grown organically from collaborations between health researchers at the two institutions, which have most recently focused on preventing the next global pandemic.

In the future, the partnership will explore opportunities for student exchange as well as academic workshops to identify new areas for research collaboration.  

The University of Sydney's partnership with National Taiwan University funds joint research projects and workshops. We are National Taiwan University's top Australian collaborating partner, and key areas include physical sciences and medical and health sciences, such as mental health.

The University of Sydney and the National University of Singapore (NUS) signed a cooperation agreement in July 2018 agreeing to work together in teaching, training and research. Both universities will commit $100,000 a year for joint research projects for three years.

The first 10 funded projects were selected after a competitive application process and will get underway in 2019.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Sydney have a university-wide priority partnership agreement that commits each university to invest $100,000 over three years to fund joint research projects.

The two universities have partnered on a project that draws together their expertise in biomedical engineering. Both universities have invested $1 million in the alliance to promote joint research, information exchange and academic mobility.

Research collaborators from the University of Sydney include the Faculty of EngineeringSydney Medical School and Charles Perkins Centre. Shanghai Jiao Tong University contributors include the School of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine and the Translational Medicine Research Centre.

Sydney Medical School has also been working closely with Shanghai Jiao Tong University to provide intensive training courses for Chinese students.

Our partnership with Sun Yat-sen University in China was signed in 2021, and focuses on addressing research relating to cities: how we can collaborate together to create liveable cities that improve the lives of their residents.  

Our partnership with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), established in 2019, enables joint research into the complex interrelationships between different aspects of human security and climate change to be assessed in novel, policy-relevant ways.    

In September 2016 we signed the first of our new strategic partnerships with the University of Hong Kong, agreeing to support greater collaboration in research, teaching, learning, and knowledge exchange.

We have been an active partner with the University of Hong Kong for many years. More than 350 joint research papers have been published in the last decade across key areas that include electrical engineering, pharmacy, sustainability, and urban planning.

The University of Sydney and Yonsei University provide joint funding to support collaborative research projects and teaching and learning initiatives.

Three projects per year from any discipline are selected on a competitive basis, with up to $20,000 in funding available per project.

The University of Sydney and Zhejiang University have made funding available for a short-term faculty exchange program, through a partnership agreement.


Frontline COVID-19 doctors share insights with academics

Frontline doctors from Wuhan, Jingmen and Hangzhou who helped tackle the first outbreak of COVID-19 in China took part in a productive information-sharing webinar with researchers from Zhejiang University and the University of Sydney in April 2020. 

Professor Li Min, Director of the Office of the Global Engagement at Zhejiang University, said the webinar recognised the importance of international partnerships in combating the virus.

Professor Kathy Belov, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) at Sydney, added: “This was an extraordinary chance to hear from people who were directly involved in China’s response to the coronavirus, and to pool the considerable resources of the two partner universities.”

The webinar was hosted by Zhejiang on 2 April and was joined by about 40 academics, physicians, clinicians and students from various faculties and research units at Sydney.

Professor Huang Xin, Vice President Executive of the Zhejiang University-affiliated Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, gave a presentation on the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 by whole-process management and innovation.

This was followed by a discussion session in which the frontline doctors were connected online to answer questions and share their experiences. A wide range of questions was raised covering issues ranging from quarantine, PPE, ventilators, and anti-viral drugs to infection rates and facial mask usage.


More collaborative projects

A year after its launch, the University’s Brain and Intelligence Science Alliance with Fudan, which marries research into cognitive neuroscience and brain disorders with the ethical implications of artificial intelligence, continues to grow and attract multidisciplinary interest.

A workshop on mental health and ageing, held online because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, attracted 191 participants from both universities in May 2020. 

The workshop was organised as part of Fudan University’s 115th anniversary celebrations. It was led by six academics from both universities, with discussions ranging from the biological bases of neurodegenerative disorders to novel interventions and strategies for disease management.

Professor Sharon Naismith, the Leonard P. Ullman Chair in Psychology and the University of Sydney's lead academic on the partnership, said: “I am really delighted about the momentum we are building, and grateful for the opportunities it has given us.

“I was thrilled to see so many people attend the webinar. We attracted a fabulous mix of Sydney researchers from various faculties and multidisciplinary initiatives, which demonstrates the breadth of disciplines interested in brain sciences, in line with the University's support of multidisciplinarity in this field.”

The workshop was the third in a series, after successful events in Shanghai and Sydney last year.

Professor Naismith added: “We engaged with a fabulous mix of students, ECRs and more senior researchers. This is fundamental to the ethos of the Alliance, where we strive to build capacity and support international collaboration and research excellence in future generations.”

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care and the University of Sydney School of Public Health held a joint virtual workshop to develop a roadmap for future collaborations in environmental health and air pollution, and in physical activity and non-communicable diseases.

The meeting, in September, enabled researchers to virtually meet their counterparts and learn more about each other’s research. Professor Joel Negin, Head of the School of Public Health at Sydney, said it was an opportunity to explore collaboration opportunities and identify potential projects, building on existing work. 

Break-out meetings were held to showcase research around the two key themes, with participants emphasising the need for evidence-based information on the cost effectiveness and cost saving aspects of health intervention programs.

Professor Samuel Wong, Director of the CUHK School, talked about the synergies in research around the health impacts of exposure to air pollution and heat impacts, and welcomed further discussions of the health technologies being researched in Australia.

Participants also discussed opportunities to bring in multiple site studies and additional partners, working through existing networks, to keep the momentum going. 

Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence has welcomed a new research agreement with China Agricultural University as a step towards more sustainable agricultural practices.

The two universities signed an MOU online recently, agreeing to collaborate on research in agriculture, animal husbandry, crop breeding and environmental sciences.

Dr Spence said: “The University of Sydney has been a significant contributor to Australian agricultural knowledge for more than a century and Australia is a global leader in animal welfare. There are enormous opportunities for our researchers to work with researchers in China to make our agricultural practices more sustainable.

“China is one of the world’s largest producers of livestock and agricultural goods, and it is also Australia’s largest export market for agricultural products. It is critical that we collaborate with researchers in China on global agricultural challenges.”

Professor Sun Qixin the President of CAU, welcomed the partnership and said it built on years of cooperation between China and Australia in agriculture.

In August 2020, the two universities launched the partnership by hosting an online academic conference with pre-recorded video speeches, online meetings and live streaming. Incredibly, the meeting was attended by more than 28,000 people and researchers have already begun developing research projects arising from it.

The MOU agreement will see the two universities collaborate on joint research projects, bilateral exchanges and international conferences to work on global food security and agricultural sustainability.

The University of Sydney and National Taiwan University held an online round table in August 2020 to examine the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous communities in Australian and Taiwan.

The event brought together 26 participants with cross-disciplinary experience in psychology, education and social work, law, Indigenous research and public health, and builds on the strategic partnership established between the two universities in 2017.

Researchers are currently developing a joint funding application for a Lecture Series Grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, focusing on the idea of ‘resilience in overcoming vulnerability’. They are also exploring cross-institutional collaborations with academics at the University of Toronto and UC Berkeley.

The city of Tianjin in China has presented a Friendship Award to Professor Albert Zomaya, who has played a key role in the establishment of the Australia-China Centre for Energy Informatics at Tianjin University.

The interdisciplinary centre, focusing on energy informatics and demand response technologies, was set up in 2019 with $940,000 of Australian Government joint research funding. Researchers are working on the development of green energy resources for the Australian and Chinese markets which are more efficient, reliable and affordable than current systems.

They are also looking at one of the biggest challenges facing energy suppliers: how to even out demand so that systems do not suffer from periods of extreme demand.

Professor Zomaya is Chair of High Performance Computing and Networking in the School of Computer Science. He is leading the Australian side of the project with Associate Professor Jin Ma from the School of Electrical and Information Engineering and Dr Wei Li from the School of Computer Science.

Professor Zomaya said the University of Sydney has been working with Tianjin University for almost a decade on developing technology to improve energy sustainability and affordability, and secure our energy infrastructure.

The Friendship Award, which carries a small honorarium, is one of ten awarded by the Municipal Government to foreign individuals who have played a unique role in promoting Tianjin’s economic and social development. Professor Zomaya was nominated for the award by Tianjin University.

In March 2021, the University of Sydney and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras held a virtual workshop on translational health science. It captured and reviewed research interests in the areas of sensing and diagnostics and bioengineering. The workshop provided a platform to highlight current collaborative research activities between the two universities, strengthen further collaboration, identify funding opportunities for research development and explore avenues for student-staff mobility.  

The workshop which was attended by more than 90 people, was preceded by Professor Kathy Belov, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement), University of Sydney and Professor Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean Global Engagement, IIT Madras. In their opening remarks, they highlighted the need to strengthen the partnership and their commitment to support future engagements.

The session on sensing and diagnostics provided insights into exciting research from both universities, including the use of wearable sensing devices, probes for detecting neurological disorders, optical biosensors and image analysis.

The bioengineering session emphasised research developments in biomaterials and nanomedicine including amalgamation of ultrasound technology and nanoparticles for non-invasive medicine, functional magnetic nano theranostic, biomaterial platforms to understand cancer microenvironments, and microfluidics technologies for health care.

The presentations and the discussions during the sessions provided an understanding of each university’s strengths and pathways to connect and build strategic research outcomes beneficial to both partners.

The organisers of the workshop Professor Prem Bisht, Dr Yogambha Ramaswamy, Dr Gurvinder Singh, Ms Amanda Sayan and Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski led a panel discussion at the end of the workshop to highlight future opportunities and initiatives between the two universities.

Facts & figures

Asia fast facts

  • 10 partnerships with universities
  • $1.6 million invested in joint research
  • 118 projects supported
  • 30,000 co-authored publications since 2016

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