Western Sydney University hosts Australia-India Education Council meeting


Western Sydney University was honoured to welcome Indian Minister for Education, the Hon. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, and Australian Minister for Education, the Hon. Jason Clare MP, to its Parramatta City campus for the Australia-India Education Council meeting.

The University proudly hosted the meeting at the campus on Monday 22 August.

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, said the University was delighted to host Ministers Pradhan and Clare for this important occasion, which highlighted the importance of education to the relationship between Australia and India.

As part of the visit the Ministers had the opportunity to hear from researchers and students who are working on research initiatives in collaboration with India.

Professor Glover spoke warmly of Western Sydney University’s own large and vibrant Indian student and staff population who enrich the University community and enliven the student experience. He also highlighted the University’s long-standing education partnerships, transdisciplinary research and enterprise collaborations with Indian universities, agencies and the Indian Government.

These include delivering innovative water security solutions for rural communities in the face of climate change; developing sustainable agriculture practices such as protected cropping to help secure the world’s food production; improving human health and wellbeing through evidence-based Ayurvedic medicine; and advancing our knowledge of space science with cutting-edge neuromorphic engineering.

“On behalf of the University community, it was an honour to welcome Minister Pradhan, together with Minister Clare, to Western Sydney University and to showcase this institution’s long and proud history of collaboration with India – one of our primary international partners,” said Professor Glover.

“Our educational collaborations include our longstanding support for global mobility initiatives like the New Colombo Plan, as well as a wide range of postgraduate and entrepreneurial training programs to support startup development that are all about fostering the next generation of academic leaders, knowledge workers and entrepreneurs in both india and Australia.

“Our world-leading research partnerships with India are leveraging our collective research strengths to tackle the grand, often complex challenges, facing both countries. Together we are delivering real and lasting impact for many millions of people in Australia and India, while also promoting industry development, commercialisation opportunities and capacity building across the region.”

The visit was also an opportunity for the Ministers to hear more about Western Sydney University’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the University recently named number one in the world for its social, ecological and economic impact in the latest Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings.

As well as being named 1st overall worldwide, the University was recognised in a wide range of SDG categories, including 1st worldwide for SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation; 2nd worldwide for SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production; and 3rd worldwide for SDG 5: Gender Equality.

The full press conference between the Hon. Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and the Hon. Jason Clare MP can also be seen via this link(opens in a new window).

Case studies: Western Sydney University collaborative research initiatives with India

Australia India Water Centre

Australia India Water Centre Image

Western Sydney University is proud to jointly lead the innovative and collaborative Australia India Water Centre (AIWC) which aims to deliver real impact for many millions of people in Australia, India and our wider regions. With a common goal of addressing the critical challenge of water security, sanitation, water management and distribution in a warming climate, the Centre – which leads a targeted program of knowledge exchange, training opportunities, and transdisciplinary education pathways – fosters research collaboration, education, training, and capacity-building. Read more: Launch of the Australian India Water Centre celebrates collaborative approach to water security

Read more: Launch of the Australian India Water Centre celebrates collaborative approach to water security

Ayurvedic Medicine Chair

MoU Chair of Ayurvedic Medicine Signing

In 2021, Western Sydney University became the first Australian university to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Government’s Ministry of Ayush to appoint an Academic Chair in Ayurvedic Medicine. The collaboration builds capacity for the evidenced-based validation of Ayurvedic medicine and aligned inventions such as Ayurveda herbal medicine, yoga and meditation.

The appointment elevates an existing research partnership between the All Indian Institute of Ayurveda and Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute, and will have a significant impact on the scientific evaluation and internationalisation of Ayurvedic medicine.

Read more: New academic chair to be appointed for research into ayurvedic medicine

The MARVI Project

MARVI MoU Signing

The overall aim the Managed Aquifer Recharge through Village-level Intervention (MARVI) Project is to improve the security of irrigation water supplies and enhance livelihood opportunities for rural communities in India.

Developed by Western Sydney University researchers and multiple partner organisations in Australia and India, MARVI’s success is based on engagement of local ‘groundwater-informed’ volunteers termed Bhujal Jankaars (BJs). With the appropriate training, BJs monitor groundwater and support local communities to actively monitor groundwater in wells and dams and input data onto a smartphone app called MyWell. They then share this information with other local farmers and government offices.

In 2019, Western Sydney University forged a new partnership agreement with the Jal Shakti (Water) Ministry to extend the reach of this highly successful approach for participatory groundwater management throughout India.

Read more: New partnership extends the impact of the MARVI water management program in India

Western Sydney University’s partnership with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

Dan Tehan at ICAR Event

The University first established a partnership with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 2018 to provide knowledge exchange around food security, especially under the increasing challenges of a changing climate. A further agreement was signed with ICAR in 2019 which strengthened higher degree research opportunities and student exchange between India and Australia, as well as expand the University’s research into the critical global issue of food security in collaboration with Horticulture Innovation Australia.

Read more: Indian partnerships deliver new student and food security innovation opportunities

India Young Water Professionals (YWP) Program

Young Water Professionals Program

Western Sydney University, in partnership with the Australia-India Water Centre (AIWC), leads the India Young Water Professionals (YWP) Program. The Program, which focuses on gender equality and diversity, equips emerging water professionals with the necessary skills, knowledge, behaviours, and networks to better enable them to contribute to the development and management of water resources and water management reforms in India.

Funded by the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), the YWP is a transformational capacity development program for young Indian water professionals.

Read more: Western lead new India Young Water Professionals (YWP) Program

Australia-India Council (AIC) grant to address climate change impact on mango-growing regions

AIC Mango Sustainablity Grant

Researchers from Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment will investigate mango varieties and their pollinators in India and Australia following an Australia-India Council (AIC) grant which leverages partnerships between Western Sydney University, Horticulture Innovation Australia and Indian State Agricultural Universities. The project aims to identify the needs of different mango varieties in the two countries and make industry recommendations on planting regimes in response to climate change.

Read more: Australia-India collaboration to address climate change impact on mango-growing regions

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore

Western Sydney University and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for expanding their ongoing partnership to support cutting-edge research in the area of neuromorphic engineering. This alliance enables collaborative research and exchange of students between the International Centre for Neuromorphic Systems (ICNS) at Western Sydney University and the Brain, Computation and Data Science (BCD) Group at IISc.

Read more: ICNS partnerships

Single Women revive Sustainable Farming, PhD candidate Chavya Chitranshi

Single Women Revive Sustainable Farming

In 2013, Bhavya Chitranshi, a PhD student at Western Sydney Univerity’s Institute for Culture and Society, moved to Emaliguda in eastern India to immerse herself in the community of a Kondh adivasi (Indigenous) tribe. While there she helped establish Eka Nari Sanghathan, a single women’s collective in India. The collective practises sustainable farming, using traditional techniques and produce enough food to both feed themselves and sell.

Read more: Stronger together - single women revive sustainable farming