Argentina – Australia talks to focus on agriculture, education and health opportunities

Published 08 May 2013

Australia and Argentina will explore opportunities for collaboration in research and innovation at the inaugural Australia – Argentina Binational Workshop, talks in the South American country this week.

Leading the Australian contingent is UNE Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Professions, Victor Minichiello who believes the Inaugural Australia- Argentina Binational Workshop in Bahia Blanca is a great opportunity for collaboration between the two countries.

“Australia and Argentina have a number of areas in common, they are both located in the southern hemisphere, they have strong and evolving agriculture and mining sectors, and they have growing industrial and technological sectors,” Professor Minichiello said.

“We also both face the challenges of delivering health and education services to rural and remote communities.

“The workshop will explore the first steps for the development of new relationships between Argentina and Australia in the fields of science, health and technology. We hope these will lead to academic exchanges, shared research, and technological programs,” Professor Minichiello said.

Argentine Convenor, Dr Guillermo Crapiste, Chancellor of the Universidad Nacional del Sur, said the workshop would include the drafting of a binational action plan to develop collaboration opportunities into reality.

“The binational action plan will support specific projects for the two governments to consider and to foster further scientific and technological collaboration between universities from these two southern hemisphere nations,’ Dr Crapiste said.

Professor Minichiello said presenters will include academics, scientific national organisations, government officials, inventors and ministerial advisors from both countries, all coming together to explore opportunities to collaborate on projects such as Massive Open Online Courseware, science innovations in farming, agriculture and robotics and tele-health.

“UNE has taken a leading role in these areas, developing SmartFarming technologies, agricultural innovation, health and tele-health innovations to promote services to regional communities, and there are countless opportunities to expand and extend these innovations into South America,” Professor Minichiello said.

The binational discussion builds on the work of an Argentina delegation visit to Australia last year, that included discussions with the Commonwealth Government, several Australian universities, CSIRO and a visit to Parliament House with meetings with the Australian Minister of Education and Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Australian Federal Member for New England, Tony Windsor, who facilitated discussions in Canberra during the Argentina-Australia mission visit last year, said the talks leverage the ability of high-speed broadband to overcome geographic distance.

“Students, academics and scientists in both Australia and Argentina will benefit from this collaboration, and the sharing of expertise will benefit both countries more broadly,” Mr Windsor said.

“The provision of a university education will become increasingly competitive in an online world, and this collaboration will help universities from both nations carve out space in the global marketplace.”