The University of New England has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pennsylvania State University, formalising years of strong collaboration between the two regionally focussed institutions.
UNE Vice-Chancellor Professor Annabelle Duncan said the relationship already had significant runs on the board, while the formal MOU would allow both Universities to expand their shared activities into new fields.
“PSU is one of the strongest US universities in terms of rural engagement, which fits well with UNE’s position as Australia’s oldest regional University and our own strategic focus on research of regional significance,” Professor Duncan said.
“Through our respective Agricultural Sciences and Law Schools, Penn State and UNE have already partnered on numerous projects including the establishment of an international Soils Governance Consortium, as well as collaborative research programs in invasive species control and shared training resources in community leadership.
“The formal MOU provides the groundwork for development of new joint research centres at both universities, expansion of student exchange and inter-faculty exchange programs, as well as the sharing of research and education resources and materials.
“Through shared knowledge and resources, UNE hopes to support a critical mass of scholars and practitioners sharing the common agenda of improving rural welfare and natural resource governance.
“At the same time, both universities hope to build on our leading online and distance education platforms, providing greater access to quality education for students in remote areas in Australia, the US and the developing world.”
Professor Duncan said the ongoing collaboration with Penn State was already opening new opportunities for engagement with other leading US Universities, as evidenced by a current visit by scholars from Penn State, Cornell and Sam Houston universities.
“Increasingly, academics with shared interests from around the world are recognising that greater collaboration can lead to better results and a greater beneficial impact for their own communities and society at large.
“UNE and Penn State are leading the way in this collaboration effort to not only benefit our own rural and regional communities, but communities facing similar issues in the US and across the developed and developing world.”