ANU and USP Vice-Chancellors Professor Pal Ahluwalia and Professor Brian Schmidt with staff of both institutions following the meeting at the Laucala Campus.
A delegation from the Australian National University (ANU) led by its Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt met with Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor & President at the Laucala Campus on 12 June 2019.
Professor Pal warmly welcomed Professor Schmidt and his team to USP saying it was a pleasure to host them and talk about areas of possible collaboration.
He noted that USP has had a fantastic collaboration with ANU over the years and a large proportion of USP staff has had some kind of connection with Australia, and in particular ANU.
“ANU has a phenomenal reputation with Pacific studies and I am sure that both universities probably have the best Pacific collections so we can see how well we complement each other,” he stated.
According to Professor Ahluwalia, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and obesity is a massive problem in the Pacific and in this regard USP’s revised Strategic Plan reflected the need for the University to include Health in its programmes.
He also talked about his ambition to build on the University’s excellence by making USP a research-intensive University and to also go into global rankings.
He said USP has predominantly been an undergraduate University thus the need to focus more on postgraduate studies. In this regard, he was looking at the establishment of a graduate school.
Professor Ahluwalia noted that while USP has pockets of excellence in areas like Climate Change, Marine Science and Pacific Studies, among others, one of the challenges faced is the difficulty in trying to secure academic staff.
Professor Schmidt reciprocated the kind gesture by Professor Ahluwalia and said it was obvious that there were a number of interesting building blocks that both institutions could work together on.
He said he was pleased to be able to get the opportunity to meet with Professor Ahluwalia and identify issues of commonality.
“We want ANU to stand up and partner across the Asia Pacific and obviously USP is a big partner. I wish to step up this partnership,” he stated.
He assured that there are a number of areas that ANU could assist USP with particularly in trying to support the University’s research ambitions.
“Trying to support your research ambitions aligns very much with what we are trying to do and USP already has a strong base to build upon,” he noted.
He assured USP of ANU’s full support and the continuation of their long-standing partnership.
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