University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence met with US Vice-President Mike Pence during his three-day Australian trip last weekend.
The meeting focussed on facilitating US-Australia business relations. Other attendees included the Minister for Trade Steven Ciobo, the Ministry for Industry Innovation and Science, the Australian Ambassador to the US Joe Hockey, the US Consul-General Valerie Crites Fowler and 10 Australian business leaders.
According to a USyd press release, Spence also spoke to the Vice-President about the University’s relationship with the United States, including the University’s Quantum Nanoscience Laboratory’s recent collaboration with Microsoft on quantum computing.
The University’s lab is one of a handful worldwide working with the software giant on revolutionary engineering and physics work for the benefit of the US and Australia.
It certainly isn’t the first time USyd has collaborated with the US on academic matters: Researchers across the University have co-authored 6500 papers with US colleagues. Just last week, USyd academics launched a mini-satellite on a rocket from Florida to the International Space Station.
Spence also spoke to Pence about the need to further develop channels for education and work, greater university exchange partnerships, and pathways for researchers to move between the two countries.
“We had more than 1,000 US students enrolled last year and more than 70 exchange agreements with US universities — the largest number we have with any single country,” Spence said.
“This year we have around 500 student exchanges with our US partners and 1700 contactable alumni in the US, including the current Ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey.”
The Trump/Spence administration recently announced an intention to cut funding to research organisations such as the National Institute of Health by as much as 20%. If that proposal is successful, it seems the US will become increasingly reliant on collaboration in the future.