New era for the Monash Warwick Alliance as rolling agreement is signed

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick and Professor Margaret Gardner AC, President and Vice-Chancellor, Monash University

Professor Margaret Gardner AC, President and Vice-Chancellor, Monash University, and Professor Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor, University of Warwick, have signed a new rolling agreement for the Monash Warwick Alliance. Replacing the previous five-year term, this open-ended partnership will enable more deeply embedded collaboration and wider transnational opportunities for students and staff.

Professor Margaret Gardner AC, President and Vice-Chancellor of Monash University, said:

“In a time of great change for the higher education sector globally, I am delighted that our alliance has proved a successful framework through which universities across the world can collaborate more closely to produce ground-breaking research and a quality education embedded in internationalism.

“Grounded in the unique model our relationship is founded on, we have harnessed our collective knowledge, and brought it together with partners in government, industry and the community to conduct interdisciplinary research and education that enacts real change for a better future.

“As we move to an ongoing partnership, the purpose and values of both universities and the alliance remain clear: to provide independent, rigorous scholarly research, education and expertise to better understand and contribute to solutions to the challenges of our times and our world.”

The Monash Warwick Alliance will jointly invest in several major challenge-led initiatives which have the potential to produce truly transformational research. We are identifying fields of research which are of strategic importance to both University partners, and we will unite our complementary expertise to achieve vital breakthroughs. We are confident that organisations, both within and external to the HE sector, will join our effort to tackle these global challenges and make a real difference. We are proud to announce that the first two areas that have been identified are Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Particle Physics.

The Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) initiative is led by Professor Greg Challis, Monash Warwick Alliance Professor of Sustainable Chemistry, and Professor Ana Traven, Monash University. We are all aware that our world is witnessing a sharp rise in deaths due to AMR infections. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that the number of these will exceed 10 million a year by 2050. If you add to this the broken economic model for new antibiotic development, a “perfect storm” that poses a major threat to human health is created. To address this problem, the world needs a future-ready workforce that can drive the next wave of discoveries and their translation into the clinic. The Alliance’s vison is to create a world leading international and interdisciplinary training program with industrial and clinical linkages in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) for early career researchers. The collaboration proposes to leverage and enhance the existing strengths in infrastructure, expertise and complementarity across Monash and Warwick in the diverse disciplines and technologies needed to tackle AMR, and to make new scientific discoveries that can help tackle this global crisis.

The Particle Physics project is led by Professor Tim Gershon, University of Warwick and Professor Ulrik Egede, Monash University. Research in Particle Physics is a global enterprise testing our understanding of the very nature of matter. It requires strong research groups across the areas of experimental particle physics, theoretical particle physics, applied computing and engineering. The Alliance will allow these experts to build stronger links and to act together to do world-leading research at CERN-based LHCb collaboration. By bringing together our complementary skills, the Alliance will have the capability to develop the tools needed to discover new types of fundamental matter through very precise experimental measurements, and to improve our understanding of the Standard Model. The outputs of this collaboration are certain to have a very strong impact in the field. In addition, through this collaboration, we will be able to research at the cutting edge of data science and machine learning which may have wider impacts on society.

Professor Abid Khan and Professor Mike Shipman
Alliance Academic Co-Directors

Earlier this week Monash academics and staff joined a celebration showcase event at Monash’s Clayton campus to find out more about the vision for the Alliance and be a part of its future. Co-hosting the event, Professor Abid Khan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement), Monash University said;

“Our showcase event at Monash offered a great opportunity for people to meet with our researchers and academics to get a real sense of the work the Alliance enables and to celebrate our huge successes in many areas since the formation in 2012. These successes include over 100 collaborative research projects, over 500 co-published journal papers and with over 1000 student mobility exchanges taken place, Warwick has now become our largest mobility partner into the UK. In terms of education, we’ve also established an array of innovative education programs.

The Alliance has now reached a really interesting stage in its evolution as it’s now moving on from how two universities work more deeply together, to how we work together to solve the great challenges of our time.”

Established in 2012 by the University of Warwick (UK) and Monash University, two research-intensive institutions of a similar age and global reputation, the Alliance goes far beyond standard collaborative agreements in the sector, because it branches out into every layer of university life.

From co-published interdisciplinary research, to joint innovations in teaching and learning, vastly increased international mobility for members of the Alliance community, and shared practice throughout professional services, the Alliance has been co-developed from its inception by colleagues on both Universities, combining the different complementary strengths of each institution.

Some highlights of what the Alliance has so far achieved include:

  • Over 100 collaborative research projects involving more than 600 academics
  • Over 500 co-published journal papers — focusing on issues from improving women’s rights in war zones and making big business more environmentally friendly, to eliminating drug-resistant superbugs and 3D-printing human tissue
  • Over 1000 student mobility exchanges have taken place between the two Universities
  • Jointly appointed Monash Warwick Alliance Professors – uniting shared expertise in wide-ranging fields, including antimicrobial resistance, nanotechnology, energy, and healthcare improvement
  • Joint PhD students working in disciplines such as medicine, arts, engineering, and social sciences; and a Double Masters in Journalism, Politics & International Studies
  • The annual (and award-winning) International Conference of Undergraduate Research (ICUR), led by Warwick and Monash, has enabled over 1,700 undergraduate students to share and discuss their research with peers, in real time via video link, across the globe
  • 'Reinvention', a peer-reviewed journal of undergraduate research, has been established - currently at 29 online issues