Australia’s Ambassador to the United States Arthur Sinodinos says a scientific arms race between America and China has created a boom in opportunities for universities to collaborate on defence and sensitive technologies research with our foremost ally.
Mr Sinodinos said the Biden administration was seeking out closer research collaboration with its allies and intelligence partners and was watching closely how Australia managed foreign interference risks inside universities.
Ambassador of Australia to the United States Arthur Sinodinos has urged universities to capitalise on the research arms races between America and China. Credit:Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
“This new world of prosperity, science, and national security is likely to result in more interesting Five Eyes co-operation in university research,” Mr Sinodinos said in a keynote speech to a Universities Australia conference via videolink on Thursday.
He said research and development was “getting a lot of attention” in the US, where Congress was debating a bill for $110 billion for science and technology research aimed at countering growing strategic competition from China.
“[There are] lots of opportunities for partnerships. I know Australian universities do a lot in this area. But what I’m finding is that the scope for that … is actually growing and providing an increasing opportunity, particularly in as we face this geostrategic competition,” he said.
The opportunities for Australian researchers existed across “the whole panoply” of US government agencies, he said, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – the body responsible for developing emerging technologies for use by the military.
He added this collaboration would only be realised if Australian universities kept up to date with the US’s tightened controls around its research “and ensure that their own processes for due diligence and compliance are robust.”
“Our American partners are also watching very closely how we address issues like foreign interference in Australia,” Mr Sinodinos said.