The Australia-Mauritius Research and Innovation Forum (AMRIF 2018) was the main topic addressed by the Minister of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, at a press conference held yesterday afternoon at the Hennessy Park Hotel, EbAne. The Australian High Commissioner to Mauritius, Ms Jenny Dee, was also present.
The Minister elaborated on AMRIF 2018 which is being held today Monday 19 February 2018 on the theme the Role of research and private sector partnerships to drive innovation and promote inclusiveness to deliver sustainable economic development. The forum is being held in the context of activities marking the golden jubilee of the independence of Mauritius and links with Australia in collaboration with the Ministry Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research and other key partners.
Over the years both Mauritius and Australia have established strong bilateral ties based on friendship and shared values, said Mrs Dookun-Luchoomun adding that AMRIF will provide the opportunity to strengthen ties in the education field even further. With the development currently occurring in the tertiary education sector, both countries have decided to move even further in their relationship, she said.
The Minister recalled the signature of four MoUs in 2017 with Australian universities and noted that a lot of ground has been covered with regard to inter-institutional cooperation. On that score the Minister expressed her satisfaction that three Australian universities (Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and Deakin University) have granted a number of tuition-waiver scholarships for post-graduate programmes to Mauritius. This will go a long way towards facilitating joint research in fields of common interest for both our countries, said the Minister.
As a SIDS, Minister Dookun-Luchoomun pointed out that Mauritius is more than conscious of the necessity to have a more coherent, coordinated and collaborative approach to sustainable development. Mauritius will continue to invest in its human capital and is keen on developing the human capital in the region and on the continent with a view to positioning itself as a regional education hub, she highlighted.
In tandem with Australian institutions, Mauritius’s tertiary education institutions can reach out and offer high quality education to Africa and the Indian subcontinent through the special links Mauritius has with SADC, COMESA, African Union or Indian Ocean Rim Association, she added.
For her part the Australian High Commissioner stated that the Forum is a landmark initiative coming during a historic year for Mauritius. Australia and Mauritius enjoy a very strong, warm and friendly relationship based on historical people to people links, she recalled. We have 30 000 people of Mauritian descent living in Australia and have more than 2 000 Mauritian students currently studying in Australia and around 20 000 Australians who come and visit Mauritius yearly, she pointed out.
Today, said Ms Dee, our education cooperation reflects an increasingly globalised world and has witnessed a growing number of research in education partnerships developing between our two countries in common fields such as the ocean economy in line with the Government strategy of becoming an education hub for the region. Australia acknowledges that innovation is vital for the world’s future prosperity and that the best innovations are born out of collaboration, she said.
A Ministerial Roundtable to identify challenges, exchange experiences and identify new areas of collaboration between Mauritian-Australian institutions and between both countries was held following the press conference. The Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Agro-Industry and Food Security and the Minister of Business, Enterprise and Cooperatives, and other stakeholders attended. Discussions were centred on the role of Mauritius as a regional education hub as well as innovation and research in areas of ICT, agroindustry and entrepreneurship.
The Australia-Mauritius Research and Innovation Forum (AMRIF 2018) is bringing together around 100 delegates and some 20 representatives from leading Australian universities and research institutions and government. Participants comprise Australian and Mauritian policy makers, researchers, academics, industry players, innovators and thought leaders from various sectors (Food security, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Agriculture, Education and training, Advanced technology, ICT, Health/Biotech, Energy and Manufacturing) of the economy.
During the forum led by experts and academics from both countries, guests will experience first-hand the power of innovation that is paving the way for new and emerging areas of activity, learn about the new funded schemes launched in Mauritius to encourage international collaborations.
Participants will not only have the opportunity to understand the implications of regional focus and perspectives such as the Mauritius Strategy for Africa in spurring economic growth but also explore joint-ventures through bilateral collaboration, involving Australia and Mauritius.
Source: Government of Mauritius