February 22, 2024

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RMIT University to Lead Australia-France Doctoral Training Network

Image Credits: RMIT, Press Release

In a significant win for global research training, Australian and French academic ties are set grow stronger following the announcement of the Australia France Network of Doctoral Excellence (AUFRANDE). The € 15.7 million (AU$ 22.8 million) network will be led by RMIT’s European hub in Barcelona and involve thirty-seven universities across France and Australia.

Co-funded by the European Commission, in collaboration with RMIT and partners, the five-year project will employ sixty-four early career doctoral researchers, with a focus on generating industry-relevant research. The researchers will be mentored by experienced supervisors from academia and industry and receive training and support including annual workshops and group events.

In a speech at the Australian Embassy in Paris, the RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President stated that AUFRANDE was set to spark a new generation of high performing early-stage researchers. Australian and French research ecosystems are being connected at scale in a way never done before.

This is only possible because of the unique positioning of RMIT’s European hub, able to serve as a bridge between the two countries through its detailed knowledge of how research funding works in both regions.

Australia’s Ambassador to France stated that establishing the network marked a significant collaboration between the two nations.

An AUFRANDE partner, the Director of Research at École Centrale de Lyon welcomed this opportunity to intensify and diversify research collaborations, with an expected significant impact on several acute scientific and technological issues. He noted that from photonics and nanotechnology to acoustics and energetics, young researchers will find exciting AUFRANDE PhD positions in Centrale Lyon laboratories.

The award of AUFRANDE unites RMIT Europe’s expertise in leading large scale multi-partner international PhD programs, following the award of REDI last year, which links RMIT with twenty-four partners in ten countries. The new network will also establish a significant number of co-supervision agreements between French and Australian partners, laying the groundwork for continued high levels of collaboration well beyond the project’s end.

Researchers will be employed at French academic institutions and spend up to one year on secondment at an Australian university. They will receive both French and Australian doctoral degrees upon successful completion of their research.

Other Australian partners include UNSW Sydney, The University of Tasmania, Macquarie University and The University of Sydney. The first group of PhD candidates will be recruited from a worldwide hiring campaign expected to begin in early 2023.

Relations between Australia and France are positive and friendly with the bilateral relationship being underpinned by strong and enduring historical links. There has been consular and diplomatic engagement since 1842, and cooperation in both the First World War and the Second World War.

The Joint Statement of Enhanced Strategic Partnership between Australia and France, signed on 3 March 2017, was developed to enable both countries to strengthen engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. The statement promotes two-way visits and cooperation in the following priority areas: political; defence; security and intelligence; economic; energy and resources; transport and infrastructure; education, science, technology, and culture; innovation; shared memory of the First World War; environmental and climate issues; international development; and consular and crisis management. Regular communication between Australian and French ministers and senior officials recently has helped advance the implementation of partnership objectives. 


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