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AFRAN submission to the Australian senate enquiry on the opportunities for strengthening Australia’s

AFRAN has made a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade regarding opportunities for strengthening Australia’s relations with the Republic of France. The AFRAN’s contribution covers the themes of bilateral relations in science, research and innovation. AFRAN has highlighted the importance of strengthening French-Australian cooperation in research and innovation in order to promote the emergence of solutions to global and multinational challenges. There is potential for increased French-Australian cooperation especially in interdisciplinary and intercultural sectors, as well as in defence and strategic regional fields.

AFRAN has proposed the following key recommendations:

  • 1. Strengthening and expanding existing and new French-Australian research and industry collaborations, which can result in substantial benefits for Australia and France, with lasting global impact in sectors including energy, health, space economy, environmental technologies and management services, and AI and autonomous systems.

  • 2. Australian government support via policies and processes to develop relations between bilateral research communities and the EU, which will increase researchand innovation partnerships and possibilities. This includes co-funding for French and EU research schemes in bi-lateral priority areas, and where they underly opportunities for French-Australian trade relationships.

  • 3. Increasing collaboration on specific higher education schemes, including supporting Australian students to undertake industrial work placements and joint (‘co-tutelle’) PhDs with French companies and laboratories, to ensure Australians gain vital skills for future industry and technologies. This is also a specific way in which defence cooperation can be supported, including for the Strategic Partnering Agreement signed in 2018 for the Future Submarine Program

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