Monash Prato Centre marks 20 years

Monash University has officially marked 20 years since the opening of its Prato Centre with a special celebration at the heritage-listed Palazzo Vaj in Tuscany, Italy where the centre is based.

Since its establishment in 2001, the Prato Centre has built a strong presence throughout Europe and continues to be a site for intellectual and cultural exchange. The centre brings together students and academics from around the world to meet, learn and collaborate. Each year more than 700 students visit the centre and around 40 international conferences take place.

Building on the past two decades of education and research success, Monash today announced the creation of the Monash University European Research Foundation (MUERF). The Foundation will complement the Prato Centre’s activities, facilitating the acceleration of in-country research partnerships and industry engagement in Europe, enhancing capacity to tackle global challenges.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said the Prato Centre has helped Monash to establish relationships and collaborations in Europe, and includes engagement across all 10 of the University’s faculties.

“Monash Prato plays a key role in the development and expansion of our international research networks and industry linkages. It is through the activation of these partnerships that we collectively tackle the global challenges of our age,” Professor Gardner said.

“The Centre’s longevity is a testament to the vision and dedication of the late Emeritus Professor Bill Kent, the Centre’s Founding Director and a world authority on the Italian Renaissance, and the efforts of many Monash staff throughout the years. We also acknowledge the support from, and collaboration with, local community, industry, education and institutional partners, which enable Monash to provide rich experiences for our students and academics.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Prato Centre and Global Network Development, Dr Cecilia Hewlett said: “Over the past two decades, thousands of researchers have gathered in Prato to work on significant research projects and collaborations, resulting in numerous publications, research grants and new partnerships with universities, governments, industry and cultural organisations throughout Europe.”

“We also have a number of exciting initiatives including a new non-profit research foundation that will deepen our research and education engagement in Europe, and increase collaborative opportunities with our partners, as well as the Monash Global Campus Intensives, a new series of programs which allow students to study intensive interdisciplinary units looking at some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Explore the Prato Centre’s history through this interactive timeline.

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