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Go8 Media Release: Go8 returns to India in on-going commitment to India’s quality students and joint research

Australia’s group of leading research intensive universities, the Group of Eight (Go8), is back in India to hold its second 2017 PhD mobility /research workshop, comprising universities, industry and Government, as it continues to strengthen the Go8 commitment to hosting quality Indian PhD students, and increasing joint research projects.

The event is part of Australian Business Week in India 2017 – led by Trade Minister, Steven Ciobo.

“With six of our members in the world’s top 100 universities we are an ideal research student destination,” says Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson. “In recognition that we graduate more than half of Australia’s PhDs each year, the Go8 has established a bilateral task force with India. It is co-chaired by the Go8 Chair Professor Peter Høj, and Director of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) Professor Devang Khakhar. It now has its initial action plan, recommending how the two countries best navigate barriers to our comprehensive student and research collaboration agenda.

“Everyone involved understands the value to the future economies of both nations from world class collaborative research and increased access in Australia to the research training of quality Indian PhD students.”

Recommendations for action include the establishment of a special class of visa for researchers and PhD graduates. “One of the factors that Indian students considering a PhD overseas look at is their post-study work and career opportunities. Even the recent changes to skilled migrant work visas that didn’t directly affect PhD students reportedly had a negative impact on perceptions of Indian students towards Australia as a study destination.

“Restrictions on post-study work rights for international PhD graduates in the US present an opportunity for Australia to improve its appeal for international PhD students by offering a better pathway from PhD study to a career.

The previous PhD workshop in April, held in Delhi, had strong support said Ms Thomson. “The goodwill and commitment from everyone involved was strong, and that has stayed resolute despite some residual concerns about Australia’s recent changes to visa criteria,” she said.

The Go8 has had a successful, and growing, research presence in India for a number of years “but,” said Ms Thomson, “our joint research successes have not translated into increased numbers of PhD students seeking to study in Australia, nor to more of our Australian PhD students seeking outstudy opportunities in India. It is eminently sensible for our task force to address this and illustrate to PhD students of both countries what benefits such study mobility can provide to them, and to their national economies.”

Media contact: Vicki Thomson Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472

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