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Looking back at long-standing collaboration between Austrian and Asian HE

In 1994, universities in Austria, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam formed The ASEAN European Academic University Network (ASEA-UNINET). With the goal of promoting the continuous internationalisation of education and research. Today it consists of more than 80 universities from 18 different countries.

Every year more than 100 bilateral and multilateral ASEA-UNINET research projects are taking place, with joint research labs in different academic areas being formed as a result of those collaborations. Furthermore, Ph.D. and Post-Doc scholarships are granted to students and researchers. In addition, international workshops, conferences, summer/winter schools as well as networking events are organised on a regular basis, the latter often in close cooperation with embassies and representatives of politics and economy. The projects are covering all traditional research sectors and are crossing disciplinary boundaries.

In Austria, the network is financed and supported by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science, and Research and implemented by the OeAD, enabling a range of funding opportunities for researchers. In almost 30 years, several Ernst-Mach scholarships are awarded annually to incoming academics from South-East Asia to Austria. Also, Bernd- Rode Award is given for outstanding scientific achievements within the scheme, and, from this year, postdocs from selected countries can receive research grants for short academic stays in Austria.

Since 1994, hundreds of (prospective) scientists from Asia have researched and taught in Austria who have inspired, encouraged, and shaped just as many researchers yet to pursue their international careers. The active alumni network is used for networking and supporting, academic and political careers in their home countries.

The ASEA-UNINET served as a role model for two other networks with comparable objectives: the Eurasia-Pacific Uninet (EPU) founded in 2000 and for the Austrian-African Research Network (Africa-UniNet), which was launched in 2020.