Many of the problems that confront us in Australia also affect other countries. Issues related to climate change are not uniquely Australian challenges; nor is water and energy supply; food or security both for citizens and nations, to name just a few. Enduring links with the rest of the world are important to find workable solutions. Any country with aspirations for the future seeks to collaborate with others in these endeavours. As the Chief Scientist put it: Global collaboration is essential, not an optional add-on.
Indeed, the importance of international collaboration has increased with the complexity of the issues at hand. The nature of the problems that require substantial research efforts are so challenging that collaboration is now of critical importance. No one nation has the people, nor the resources, to do on its own all that needs to be done.
The European Union has realised this. Their new Horizon 2020 program for research and innovation is open for global participation. Good ideas and substantial contributions are sought from everywhere. It offers a unique opportunity to learn what others are thinking and how they try to solve the problems. Perhaps they are interested to learn about our thinking, as well.
Australia needs to make up its mind about its role in the world and the region. If you want to get involved, why don’t you encourage your CRC to look into opportunities for collaboration in Horizon 2020? It might be worthwhile to look beyond the Timor Sea and discover other approaches. Get engaged and seek to collaborate with colleagues overseas. It is not an optional add-on.
In our next article, we will introduce the opportunities in Horizon 2020.