Applications for a bilateral fellowship program between India and Australia opened on Thursday, boosting research collaboration and student mobility between the two countries.
The new Australia India Research Students Fellowship (AIRS Fellowship) program, led by the Australia India Institute and funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, supports emerging researchers from India and Australia to undertake short-term research exchanges.
The program is open to eligible research students and post-doctoral scholars (early-career researchers) across all disciplines. Under this, seventy fellowships of up to AUD 10,000 are available, with 35 awards on offer to applicants from each country.
CEO of the Australia India Institute, Lisa Singh, said that the AIRS Fellowships will boost research and innovation partnerships between the two countries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Australia is one of the world’s leading providers of education for international students and India is our second-largest source of international students. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, Indian international students contributed more than $6.4 billion to our economy,” Ms Singh said.
She added, “part of the India Economic Strategy to 2035 Action Plan, this program will strengthen our research and education ties with our important trading partner.”
The AIRS Fellowship program was launched in August at the sixth Australia India Education Council meeting, co-chaired by Australian Education Minister Jason Clare and Indian Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan.
Australia and India have a long history of research engagement, with Science and Technology cooperation agreements in 1975, and in 2020 the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that covers a variety of research of interest to both nations.
Collaborative research in priority sectors of the bilateral relationship, such as water, clean energy, agriculture, and health sectors are promoting solutions to shared challenges.
Ms Singh remarked, “Research collaborations across national boundaries can promote strong bilateral ties, and in Australia, the Indian diaspora has been a driving force in bilateral research collaboration”.
“The AIRS Fellowship program will provide opportunities for emerging Australian researchers to develop their India-capability and for young Indian researchers to build their Australia-capability, helping to create long-lasting connections between both countries,” she added.
Students will undertake a research project during an exchange of 4 to 8 weeks, to be completed by mid-October 2023. Furthermore, the applications can be made via the Australian Researcher Cooperation Hub-India – a digital platform promoting researcher engagement between India and Australia. Applications close Sunday, 13 November.