As part of the Strategic Plan objectives of greater internationalization and improvement in the University's research output and profile, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland, Professor Stuart McCutcheon and the Vice-Chancellor of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra signed the first MOU between the largest and well-known New Zealand University and the Pacific Islands' leading university on Tuesday 29th of June 2010.
Ahead of the signing, Professor Rajesh Chandra visited various sections of the University of Auckland and held discussions with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research; Pro Vice-Chancellor, International; Deans, Directors and other senior academics. The full-day programme of visits and discussions showed considerable interest within the University of Auckland in collaborating with USP in a number of important areas.
At the signing ceremony, Professor McCutcheon expressed his strong interest and support for further collaboration between the two universities. Professor Rajesh Chandra has extended an invitation to Professor McCutcheon to visit USP in the near future.
The MOU is a generic one identifying various possibilities, and is based on mutual respect for each other's qualifications and programmes. It is a partnership based on equality.
The initial areas of significant promise appear to be: Environment and sustainable development, focusing on PACE-SD; Pacific Studies; International student recruitment; Marine Studies; Science and Technology, especially around support for Engineering as seek international accreditation and institutional planning and sharing of data. This is not exclusive of other possibilities as the MOU is an enabling framework rather than a restrictive one.
There is a move within the University of Auckland to establish a steering group to ensure that this MOU leads to significant outcomes. USP will also maximize benefits from our strategic links.
There are of course many former USP staff, alumni and well-wishes of USP at the University of Auckland which should facilitate a good programme of activities in the future.
Much will now depend on our ability to connect academic leaders on both sides, and Professor Rajesh Chandra will be distributing materials, providing contacts and discuss the way forward with relevant contact points at the University. The MOU presents major opportunities for USP to expand its research activities and profiles, especially in bidding for large international research projects. Professor Rajesh Chandra urge's all interested individuals to discuss with their section heads their ideas about their involvement in proposed activities and to discuss with PVC Research and International whose office will co-ordinate the outcomes from this MOU.