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Media release: Go8 Universities in Lockstep with Australia-US Alliance

October 26, 2023

The Group of Eight (Go8) is in lockstep with our major strategic partners, as outlined today in the Joint Leaders’ Innovation Alliance statement issued by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and President Joe Biden.

As Australia’s powerhouse research universities, who conduct 70 per cent of Australia’s university research and invest some $7.7 billion in R&D annually – or about a fifth of the country’s total research spend – it is now clear that Australia as a nation cannot deliver on its strategic priority goals without the research advantage that our universities provide.

The Australia-US Innovation Alliance, built on a foundation of cooperation in science and critical and emerging technologies, recognises that high quality research and the advances it brings underpin and drive the three pillars of our US engagement: robust economic cooperation and trade; foundational security and defence ties; and climate and clean energy production.

“The Go8 has been a strong advocate for research as a driving force, not just of Australia’s productivity and economic development, but of our critical strategic partnerships in this increasingly geo-contested world,” said Go8 Chief Executive, Vicki Thomson.

“This is why the Go8 recently signed a Strategic Alliance on Research and Innovation with the Russell Group – our counterpart organisation in the UK – which echoes the key thrust of the Prime Minister and President’s Innovation Statement. The Go8-Russell Group alliance is critical to delivering the advanced capabilities identified under Pillar II of AUKUS, including Artificial Intelligence, Undersea Capabilities and Quantum Technologies.

“We also have deep and strong connections into research intensive organisations in the US and are looking to formalise this through a similar agreement to foster academic collaboration and innovation to support our defence and security priorities.

“We note the inclusion of the agreement between Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Australian National University in the Innovation Alliance – which stands as an example of the deep and substantive agreements already in operation amongst our members with their US colleagues.  

“Our Go8 universities stand tall on the world stage – with three members now ranked in the top 20 globally according to the prestigious QS World University Rankings 2024. This gives Australia the asset it needs to take our place among the international discussion and alliances that will increasingly shape the world, as reflected in the innovation focus of this agreement.

“We look forward to working with Government and our international partners to help further these strategic goals.”

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 438 047 155