A delegation from the Embassy of Australia and the Australian Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., visited the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on June 29 to learn about the University’s research portfolio and engagement in Australia, as well as to discuss opportunities for student exchange and collaboration in commercialization and research and development. The delegation was in North Carolina visiting universities and businesses in support of partnerships and commercial relationships between institutions and industries in the U.S. and Australia.
Members of the delegation included Anthony Murfett, Australian minister counsellor for industry, science and education at the Embassy of Australia; John Angley, senior trade and investment commissioner at the Australian Trade Commission; and Paul Adler, investment director at the Australian Trade Commission.
A highlight of the visit was a meeting at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy with Stephen Eckel, associate dean for global engagement, and Dhiren Thakker, Howard Q. Ferguson Distinguished Professor, to discuss the PharmAlliance, a tri-lateral partnership among pharmacy schools at UNC, Monash University in Australia and University College London in the United Kingdom. The alliance promotes and facilitates bi- and trilateral collaboration between the institutions in pharmacy and the pharmaceutical sciences in areas of education, practice and research through structured and informal interaction, mutual visits by faculty and leadership, and student/trainee exchanges.
The three partners are forming new collaborations in the fields of drug discovery, nanotechnology and nanomedicine development, translational research, pharmaceutical outcomes and policy, and education. New initiatives are being developed that will enable them to more effectively and rapidly address major international challenges and opportunities in the pharmacy profession and healthcare delivery.
“The meeting was very positive,” said Eckel. “The delegation reaffirmed that the creation of the PharmAlliance would lead to new partnership opportunities between the two regions where Monash and UNC are located and offered to help identify funding that may broaden existing exchanges between our faculty, graduate students and professional students.”
After receiving an overview of the successes and strengths of UNC’s research and development enterprise from Eliana Perrin, associate vice chancellor for research, and Joonhyung Cho, industry relations officer, the delegation spent time over lunch with Ron Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer, Katie Bowler Young, director of global relations for UNC Global, and Melissa McMurray, international liaison officer for UNC Global. The delegation learned about UNC’s many faculty collaborations in Australia, especially in the sciences and health affairs, and explored new opportunities for UNC faculty research and student engagement.
Australia is currently the tenth most popular study abroad destination for UNC undergraduates. Throughout the visit, the delegation shared information about resources the embassy can provide to encourage students and researchers to spend time in Australia and to support partnerships and collaborations between U.S. and Australian universities.