Interview on NDTV
Australia India education partnerships; Opening of TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechology Centre

Question: Yeah. I’m now joined by Australia’s Education Minister Senator Simon Birmingham. Thanks for talking to us Minister.

Simon Birmingham: Pleasure.

Question: Your visit, I mean, you’re leading a large delegation of education representatives. Education is a big focus area of your visit, during your trip. So, tell us a little bit about the collaboration with Australian universities and education the [indistinct] are looking for with India and Indian institutions.

Simon Birmingham: Well, he’s celebrating what is already a very rich partnership, a knowledge partnership between Australia and India. We have more than 400 different formal research partnerships between Australian universities and Indian research institutions and entities, and we have more than 60,000 Indian students studying in Australia, which is the second most popular country on Earth for Indian students to go and study and research abroad. So, very proud the extent of the relationship as it currently stands, but we’re also very committed to trying to build and strengthen it into the future, particularly through new research facilities like this. So, two-way exchanges of PhD students, and really taking a commitment to a continued presence on a whole new level both in the exchange of students but also the [indistinct] make a huge difference in terms of trade.

Question: Like you mentioned, over 60,000 students are studying in Australia. So, apart from student exchange, what other kind of collaboration are you looking for? Some research initiatives or what sorts- what might be in the pipeline?

Simon Birmingham: We’re seeing now a greater focus on very high-level exchanges, so the exchange of PhD students between Australia and Indian universities. Apart from that, a PhD in each country, with each other’s researchers, influencing of course [indistinct] taking that to PhD students and engaging in that. Also investment, more so through our Australia India Research Partnership, which is the biggest such investment Australia has with other countries, which supports a whole range of different projects, projects the likes of which could occur at this TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre.

Question: And Mr Turnbull, the Prime Minister with Indian Prime Minister, seemed to enjoy the Metro ride…

Simon Birmingham: [Laughs]

Question:… have you had the chance to board the Metro yet?

Simon Birmingham: I’ve not had the chance to board the Metro. I’ve just had the wonders and challenges of Indian traffic and roads, but it was great to see Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Turnbull connect in such a way. They spent far more time together than any of the schedulers had planned, and they canvassed a range of issues, particularly the depth of these knowledge partnerships and the capacity, perhaps, for Australian universities to open more facilities, including teaching facilities, here in India, creating more opportunities for Indian students, but also importantly more opportunities for more Australian students to come to India to make sure it’s a true two-way street.

Question: Two-way street. Thank you.

Simon Birmingham: Pleasure.