Countering foreign interference in education and research

​​​Australian universities produce world class research vital to Australia’s continued prosperity. Global collaboration and openness is crucial to this success, enabling Australia to make cutting-edge research breakthroughs. This global engagement is occurring in an ever more complex and evolving world.

The majority of international interactions are positive and benefit Australia. However, there are foreign powers who seek to interfere in the university sector, given it is at the leading edge of policy, research and scientific development.

The Australian Government and university sector are working together to mitigate risks of foreign interference and promote Australia as an attractive international research and education partner.  The University Foreign Interference Taskforce (UFIT) was established to enhance safeguards against the risk of foreign interference.

The UFIT developed the Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector (Guidelines), to support the university sector’s response to foreign interference. In November 2021 refreshed Guidelines were released to build on the substantial progress universities have made in their work to increase awareness of, and resilience to, the risk of foreign interference. Guidance material can be accessed through the Department of Education.

The Australian research community is also at risk of foreign interference. Working with partners across government, the Counter Foreign Interference Coordination Centre is supporting the research sector to understand its exposure to foreign interference risks and provide advice on due diligence, risk management and protective security measures to build the sector’s resilience to foreign interference threats.

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