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UNSW Sydney prepares to welcome more Indian students: Laurie Pearcey

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018

Laurie Pearcey, pro-vice chancellor (International), UNSW, on the University’s international strategy focussing on two-way educational engagement between India-Australia, reports Priyanka Srivastava

University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney, has rolled out the ambitious 2025 Strategy aiming to attract international researchers, students and academicians. Aimed at boosting academic excellence, social engagements, global impact and enablers, 2025 Strategy will facilitate the innovation, internationalisation and global impact.


Laurie Pearcey, 33, discussed the new policies introduced by the QS 45 ranked UNSW to attract Indian students and academic researchers. Academic recruitment drives and new scholarship schemes have been introduced by UNSW, a state-run public university, with the aim of enrolling some of the best students and prolific faculty members. The strategy, says Pearcey, would attract the ‘rising stars of academia’.


“The UNSW has $1billion investment to attract 1000 academics in the next decade. Given Australia’s limited population, we have 40% (in some cases, even higher) of researchers from overseas. So, international research collaboration is very important,” said Pearcey in an interview to Education Times.


At the moment, UNSW has 21,000 international students of which 1200 students are from India, who are spread across various streams. The University is focussing on having 4000 Indian students by 2025. “Not all students may physically attend the university, but can participate in the extensive programmes launched in collaboration with Indian institutes such as Manipal, Vellore Institute of Technology, NIT,” added Pearcey, pointing at the need to have two-way engagement between the two countries.


“We want Australian students to visit India and discover the rich country. We look forward to an Australia-India youth dialogue, along with having careers to mobilise potential talents from both sides,” added Pearcey. Australia is collaborating with India in several sectors including solar power generation and the smart city agenda.


Global impact strategy for the global university has been in place since 1952 when the University was just three-years young and had welcomed the first batch of students from south-east Asia and the Indian subcontinent.


“Today, we have a community of 21,000 international students from 120 countries. We give importance to partnerships and India is one of the important partners for the University to focus on, which also extends to elevate the India-Australia bilateral relationship. The recently released India-AustraliaEconomic Strategy 2035 focusses on expansion in 10 sectors and states in India, of which education has been highlighted as the flagship sector to guide the next wave of relationship between the two countries,” said Pearcey.


This year the University awarded ‘Future of Change’ scholarships to 61 students ranging between $5,000 -$ 10,000, including a full fee waiver for a Bengaluru medical graduate for pursuing a two-year public health programme. The scholarships include $4million for those doing Masters in Engineering and Women in Engineering, though the University promotes representation in all the faculties besides STEM.


“Three years ago, when we started our India strategy, we had around 300 Indian students, today we have 1200 students and in the coming time, we aim to intensify the partnership in students and research base,” said Pearcey.


Students from China constitute 40% of international students at UNSW, which Pearcey claims has largely to do with the culture of celebrating the value of education. China offers financial support to its PhD students, who return to the home country after completion of the course to participate in their Made in China 2025 agenda, aimed at boosting the growth of AI, Semiconductors and more.  


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