Deepening Engagement through Research Security: High Quality Research Collaboration in a Contested Environment

June 10, 2024

Australia’s Group of Eight universities will host a high level dialogue in Japan to discuss pathways to safeguard research collaboration in a highly contested global environment.

The Group of Eight /Japan Research Security Dialogue being held at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo will explore ways to securely navigate the changing global research environment.

The delegation, led by Go8 Chair Professor Mark Scott and including Major General (Ret’d) Paul Symon, Co-Chair of the Go8 Defence and Security Committee and former Director General Australia Secret Intelligence Service, will meet with senior government officials, security agencies, leading business and industry representatives, and Japan’s research universities (RU 11).

Group of Eight Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said:

“Japan is one of Australia’s most important partners, both strategically through the Quad and also as a trusted and long-standing research collaborator.

“As the scope and scale of global challenges increase, there is nothing more pressing than safeguarding our research effort. Australia’s research collaboration with Japan is vital to both the economic prosperity and security of the Indo Pacific.

“The global research environment is changing – foreign interference is a significant threat and must be taken seriously. Go8 is acutely aware of this and is adept at building tall fences around small paddocks, but change is fast-paced and we must stay ahead of the game to protect against risk.

“The threat of foreign interference must be managed effectively with our closest strategic partners. However, effective management requires nuance, vigilance and balance. It could impact negatively both economically and socially if there are policy missteps, regardless of how well intentioned.

“The consequences of inaction would be detrimental to the operations of Australia’s high quality research effort, which is a critical part of our nation’s sovereign capability.

“Japan is a key strategic partner within the Indo-Pacific and is a source of high quality HDR students for Australia. Japan also has large, R&D active industries which is an area of huge potential for further collaboration. Australia’s Go8 universities are the heavy lifters when it comes to R&D, our economy is dominated by SMEs and therefore we don’t have access to the same research-intensive industry base as our Japanese colleagues.

“Japan has been actively seeking to expand its international research partnerships. This presents a pivotal opportunity for Australia, both in terms of industry investment and maximising the regional security and alliance benefits that come with greater technology, workforce and industry linkages.

To coincide with the Go8/Japan Research Security Dialogue, the Go8 will launch “Partners in Excellence”, the latest in a series of publications highlighting the importance of high-quality global research collaboration.

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