The future for unis: what they know and who they know

In uncertain times, the “collaborative impulse” and “imperative to partner” are higher education’s comparative advantage  

Uni Queensland chancellor Peter Varghese warns universities face a “bonfire of certainties,” with the “founding pillars of the post-war world” shaky and the proportion of university funding from government declining.

To adapt, he told the TEQSA conference Friday, higher education must partner or perish.

Mr Varghese acknowledged the “still booming international education market” but addressed in detail partnership with industry and education as sources of solutions to funding challenges.

Using Uni Queensland cases as examples, he pointed to joint research with industry, engaging with student/graduate entrepreneurs, partnering with philanthropy and government commissioned public-policy development.

“Universities are sometimes cast as ivory towers.  But the truth is they are at the cutting edge of change,” he said.

Partnerships and collaboration should be seen as the comparative advantage of the higher education sector.  It is uniquely placed to tackle complexity in all areas of policy and at all levels of analysis and to mount the global connections needed for evidence-based solutions to wicked problems.”


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