The growing importance of Asia to the world economy in general and to the countries of the South Pacific in particular has prompted Melbourne University to establish a new network dedicated to the Continent.
Called, the ‘Melbourne Asia Research Network’ (MARN), the new initiative will be linked to the existing and related facilities of the Institution, including the Asia Institute, Asialink, the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies, the Asian Law Centre, the Centre for Indonesian Law and Islam and Society.
Melbourne University Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis said that the research network will increase support for all Asia-focused research projects and industry engagement activities.
“The network would improve staff and students’ ability to foster productive interdisciplinary collaboration within and beyond the university in tackling global research challenges, including health and wellbeing, sustainability and resilience, purpose and place, which have a particular significance in Asia as it undergoes rapid changes. Through the network, the University will have a renewed presence in the region,” he said.
Professor Davis believes that graduates of the University should have the requisite capabilities and experiences through new learning and teaching initiatives.
“MARN will help Melbourne advance its position as one of the top five universities in Asia, and push towards being an outstanding university in Australia for Asia-relevant, problem-orientated research and teaching. It will also help ensure the University meets broader national and international needs for Asia relevant-capability, as laid out by the Asian Century White Paper of last year,” he said.
It is understood that the new initiative was encouraged by the ‘Melbourne-Asia Visiting Fellowship Programme,’ established recently to support Visiting Fellows to Melbourne from Asian universities until 2015.
The University will shortly announce the appointment of a director to head MARN.