UQ and Oceania

From good neighbours to strategic partners

UQ and the diverse countries of the Oceania region share longstanding and multifaceted relations. As our closest international neighbours, our growing people-to-people links are helping understand one of the most biodiverse regions of the world, and protecting the oceans, crops, and animals that its communities rely on.

Fast facts

Excludes Australia



304

Students from Oceania enrolled at UQ


284

Oceania-UQ co-publications


77

academic staff born in Oceania


28

research project collaborations


1241

alumni in Oceania


6

agreements with 4 official partners

Research

Co-publications

In the past 5 years, UQ has produced more than 1,134 co-publications with researchers in Oceania, largely in the areas of public health, ecology, environmental sciences, and infectious diseases. Co-publishing partners include the University of Auckland, University of Otago, University of Canterbury, Massey University, and the University of the South Pacific.

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with 26 Oceanic institutions on 52 UQ research projects worth more than AUD 21.1 million. UQ has collaborated with the University of Auckland, University of Otago, University of Canterbury, Papua New Guinea (PNG) Oil Palm Research Association, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, and the PNG National Agricultural Research Institute, covering diverse research areas including agriculture, cancer research, climate change, education, chemical engineering, and the environment.

Research funding

UQ has received more than AUD 1.8 million from Oceanic organisations in the past 5 years. 24 organisations – including Aroma New Zealand, OK Tedi Mining (PNG), LanzaTech New Zealand, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (Oceania), and French Polynesia Government Ministry of Marine Resources – have funded 29 research projects.

Research about Oceania

In the past 5 years, UQ researchers have conducted 117 research projects about the Oceanic region, worth more than AUD 50.5 million. The majority of the projects are funded by Australian Government agencies including the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Australian Research Council. The largest international funding agencies are the National Institutes of Health (USA), and the MacArthur Foundation.

Collaboration in action

Strengthening crop management

UQ is leading research into the sustainable development of high-value crops in the Pacific Islands. As part of this collaboration, School of Biological Sciences Associate Professor Mike Furlong heads an international project to research emerging pest and disease problems before they impact on newly intensified crops. Working closely with policy makers and farmers throughout the region, he is helping improve the long-term livelihoods of subsistence farmers and the sustainable develop of crops. Local partners include the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre, and government agricultural ministries in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Solomon Islands.

Giant trees found on PNG expedition

The first field campaign surveying Papua New Guinea’s lush primary forests has revealed the high mountain tops may house the largest trees recorded globally at such extreme altitudes. Led by Dr Michelle Venter, a postdoctoral fellow at Canada's University of Northern British Columbia, the project involved UQ School of Biological Sciences Lecturer Dr John Dwyer and James Cook University Professor Michael Bird. The team studied 195 forest plots in the remote Morobe province along an elevation gradient spanning from the coastal lowland forests (50m) to upper montane tropical forests (3,100m). The tallest trees included a 41m high Nothofagus starkenborghii, one of the southern beeches whose ancestors dominated Gondwanan forests for millions of years. Photo by Dr Venter

Preserving biodiversity in the Solomon Islands

The UQ Giving program has provided free conservation textbooks to more than 250 schools in the Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands Forest Life documents the rich biology of the archipelago and educates readers on how to protect it. Edited by School of Biological Sciences researcher Dr Diana Fisher and School of Civil Engineering Associate Lecturer Dr Patrick Pikacha, it is the first school textbook on terrestrial ecology and conservation in the region. The book is part of larger community conservation and species discovery projects in Oceania, supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the John and Catherine MacArthur Foundation, and the Australian Museum.

Boosting community resilience to climate change

The impacts of climate change – such as rising sea levels and intense storm activity – have been particularly concentrated in tropical areas. Interventions to adapt have been accelerating at the community level, nonetheless, there has been little analysis of their long-term effectiveness in reducing livelihood and resource vulnerability. In response, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Associate Professor James Watson and Dr Karen McNamara are optimising community-based climate change adaptation in the Pacific Islands. Funded by the Australian Research Council, and in collaboration with 8 partner organisations, the pair is evaluating interventions and providing best practice guidelines – research that will help ensure the efficient use of resources throughout the region.

Charting a course to a ‘blue economy’

Marine scientists have proposed a prosperity path for Melanesia (comprising Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), in a report that values the region’s ocean assets at more than half a trillion US dollars. Led by Global Change Institute Director Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (pictured), UQ scientists hope their proposals will help Melanesia’s leaders build on previous commitments to a sustainable ocean-based ‘blue economy’. Global pressures from climate change threaten food security, coastal protection, and long-term economic opportunity in the region, which has one of the highest population growth rates in the world.

Sports for development and disease prevention

School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Associate Professor Stephanie Hanrahan was recently funded by Volleyball Australia to monitor and evaluate the Pacific Island Women's Village Volleyball Programs, which operate in Vanuatu, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. The program aims boost the leadership skills of people with disabilities, and encourage the participation of women and girls in sport. Dr Hanrahan previously worked with colleagues Dr Steven Rynne and Dr Emma Beckman to examine the effectiveness of the International Cricket Council's Pacific Sport Partnership in Fiji and Papua New Guinea – a flagship sport for development program.

 

Students from Oceania at UQ

In the past 5 years, around 800 students from Oceania have been enrolled in UQ degrees (excluding Australians). The Graduate Certificate in Governance and Public PolicyPhD studies, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), and Bachelor of Arts are popular program choices.

Student societies at UQ provide great opportunities to share interests and build community. They include the South Pacific Islander Association and a wide range of faith groups.

Video: Dannicah Chen, from Samoa, studies a Bachelor of Commerce. She was chosen as a Brisbane International Student Ambassador in 2015.

Celebrating the cultures of Oceania

The UQ Anthropology Museum is home to a significant collection of Pacific art and artefacts. It has held exhibitions on the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, including the first museum exhibition of Lihir culture (PNG) anywhere in the world. Emeritus Professor Clive Moore was awarded a Cross of Solomon Islands for his historical work on Malaita Island, while Honorary Associate Professor Annie Ross has worked in Marovo Lagoon for over a decade, documenting local cultural traditions and stories from the past and the present that link local people to their land and sea heritage. UQ also offers many courses focusing on the Asia-Pacific, including Archaeology of the Pacific Islands, Australia Pacific Indigenous Arts, and South Pacific Comparative Law.

Audio: Bucketlist: What do you know about the Solomon Islands? Senior Curator Dr Diana Young speaks to ABC Radio Adelaide about the stories behind the UQ Anthropology Museum's collection.

Student mobility

Intensive language and cultural course

In 2017, the School of Languages and Cultures offered the inaugural New Caledonia Intensive Course, which aims to facilitate understanding of French Pacific and Kanak cultures while helping students increase their language proficiency. Based in Noumea, the course included a homestay with a francophone family and excursions to Kanak communities. The course can be counted towards a French major.

New Colombo Mobility Plan

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program has supported several UQ undergraduate students to undertake semester-based study in the Indo Pacific. In late 2017, Caitlin Gordon-King (Communication/Arts) will study at the University of South Pacific (USP), in Suava, Fiji, while also interning at United Nations Women. Patrick Walsh (Science/Arts) studied at USP in 2016, and went on to do an internship in India.

New Zealand field trip

The School of Geography Planning and Environment Management runs a two-week field trip to a convergent plant margin in New Zealand's North Island, and a transform plate boundary in the South Island. Undergraduate students are given the opportunity to witness how tectonic processes influence geomorphology, and how these landscapes continue to evolve.

Alumni

UQ has more than 1,240 alumni in Oceania (excluding Australia). Alumni with strong links to the region include:

Alumni

Charles Abel
Papua New Guinea

Deputy Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (Bachelor of Economics, 1989)
Solomon Islands

High Commissioner of the Solomon Islands to Australia (Master of International Relations)
Papua New Guinea

High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea (Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science 1974)
Papua New Guinea

First female cabinet minister of Papua New Guinea (Doctor of the University honoris causa 2005)

Kiribati

President of Kiribati (Master of Economic Studies 2002)
Wez Norris
Solomon Islands

Deputy Director-General at Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Solomon Islands (Bachelor of Applied Science)
Biman Prasad
Fiji

Leader of the National Federation Party, Shadow Minister for Finance, Planning and National Statistics, Fiji (PhD)
Tonga

Australia Awards alumnus (Masters in IT Management, 2015)
The Hon Malakai Tabar MP
Papua New Guinea

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Papua New Guinea (Masters of Agribusiness)
Ioeru Tokantetaake
Kiribati

Commissioner of Police & Superintendent of Prison at Kiribati Police and Prison Service (MPhil)

Fast facts

Oceania region

Flag of Fiji

Fiji

Students: 25
Academic staff: 5
Alumni: 144
Co-publications: 7
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 19

Flags of French Polynesia

French Polynesia

Students: 5
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 5
Co-publications: 4
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 0

Flag of Kiribati

Kiribati

Students: 4
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 16
Co-publications: 1
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 0

Flag of Marshall Islands

Marshall Islands

Students: 0
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 2
Co-publications: 0
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 0

Flag of FSM

Micronesia, Federated States

Students: 0
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 7
Co-publications: 5
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 0

Flag of Nauru

Nauru

Students: 2
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 2
Co-publications: 0
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 1

Flag of New Caledonia

New Caledonia

Students: 16
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 44
Co-publications: 10
Project collaborations: 2
Agreements: 0
Trips: 11

Flag of New Zealand

New Zealand

Students: 118
Academic staff: 66
Alumni: 508
Co-publications: 235
Project collaborations: 23
Agreements: 3
Trips: 228

Flag of Palau

Palau

Students: 0
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 0
Co-publications: 2
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 8

Flag of Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Students: 104
Academic staff: 5
Alumni: 362
Co-publications: 9
Project collaborations: 3
Agreements: 2
Trips: 58

Flag of Samoa

Samoa

Students: 5
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 29
Co-publications: 0
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 8

Flag of Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands

Students: 10
Academic staff: 2
Alumni: 45
Co-publications: 4
Research collaborations: 0
Agreements: 1
Trips: 34

Flag of Tonga

Tonga

Students: 1
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 31
Co-publications: 2
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 5

Flag of Tuvalu

Tuvalu

Students: 1
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 5
Co-publications: 0
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 0

Flag of Vanuatu

Vanuatu

Students: 4
Academic staff: 0
Alumni: 41
Co-publications: 1
Project collaborations: 0
Agreements: 0
Trips: 15

 

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Fast facts based on 2016 full year data.