New Colombo Plan: Australian students’ learning in and engagement with Asia

Project Overview

Australia’s future is increasingly connected with Asia. Preparing young Australians to learn and understand about the people, cultures, societies as well as professional practices of this region is critical to Australia’s economy and prosperity. This Future Fellowship project explores Australian students’ learning in and engagement with Asia through the New Colombo Plan (NCP) program. Using a multi-method research design, it examines two issues of vital importance for universities and the nation: (1) the learning and engagement of Australian STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) students in Asia and (2) the effects of their learning and regional engagement. The project addresses a critical need to have nuanced understandings of the longer term impacts of mobility experiences in Asia for all students and for the possibility of using student mobility to Asia as a mechanism of public diplomacy. It generates recommendations based on sound theoretical perspectives and multi-dimensional research that looks closely at different stakeholder views.

The project aims to:

  1. Advance empirical knowledge by identifying and explaining the nature of Australian STEM students’ learning in and engagement with Asia through the NCP program;
  2. Analyse whether and how their learning and engagement with Asia affects their identity, career directions and future;
  3. Identify how universities can engage students in post-study abroad activities to support the integration of the study-abroad experiences and extend them for their educational purposes;
  4. Identify the implications of the findings for government and institutional policy and practice for maximising the potential benefits and impacts of students’ learning in and engagement with Asia.

Find out more about the project.


Report: Australian Student Mobility to the Indo-Pacific Region through the New Colombo Plan

Our team

Deakin University
Australian Research Council

Chief Investigators
A/Prof Ly Tran

Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Mark Rahimi

Advisory group

Ms Mirai Kirsanovs: Co-founder and co-director of Asia Options
Dr Davina Potts: Chair of IEAA Research Committee and Associate Director (Global Leadership and Employability), the University of Melbourne
DFAT NCP Representative:  Ms Rebecca Gibb, Assistant Director Strategy and Governance Section, Scholarships and Alumni Branch, DFAT.
Ms Brianna Watt: Director, Outbound Student Mobility and Global Citizenship, Deakin University (Invited)
Mr Christopher Lawson: First Secretary (Education and Research) at the Australian Embassy in China
Prof. Hiroshi Ota: Director of Hitotsubashi University’s Centre for Global Education, Japan
Dr Nguyễn Thành Nam, Vice President (International), FPT University (host University of Deakin University’s IT students via New Colombo Plan), Vietnam: Invited
Mr Trevor Goddard: Member of Reference Group for DFAT NCP, Principal & Executive Director, Goddard & Associates Pty. Ltd.
Mr Rob Malicki: Member of Reference Group for DFAT NCP, Director, Australian Institute of Mobility (AIM) Overseas
Prof. Fazal Rizvi: Professor in Global Studies of Education, University of Melbourne
Prof. Simon Marginson: Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education, University College London
Prof. Sheng-Ju Chan: Chair of Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership
Mr Evan Webb: 2016 NCP Scholar to Vietnam
Ms Anna Eggleton: 2016 NCP Scholar to Japan
Mr Scott Gigante: 2015 NCP Scholar to China

Project funding

This project is funded by the Australian Research Council and additional funding from Deakin University.

Project timeline


Contact us

A/Prof Ly Tran
Deakin University