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The Australian university sector and the broader Australian community benefit significantly from the presence of international students and collaboration with international researchers and scholars. This level of engagement contributes to the success and achievement enjoyed by the sector, which produces advanced research, cutting-edge technology, closer partnerships with a range of countries and truly insightful scholarship – which, by extension, contributes significantly to the competitiveness of Australian companies and growth of the Australian economy.
However, this open environment of international collaboration has the potential to put the university sector at risk of exploitation by foreign actors who do not follow the same rules of academic integrity as we do, or share our values.
Foreign actors can use a range of coercive, clandestine and deceptive means to achieve their aims in the university sector. Those aims include:
Foreign actors can use a range of vectors to achieve their aims in the university sector. These may include:
Understanding and responding to foreign interference in the Australian university sector requires closer engagement between the Commonwealth and the sector. Enhanced engagement will ensure the sector preserves its reputation for excellence while recognising and mitigating the risks of foreign interference.