PLuS Alliance

PLuS Alliance

The PLuS (Phoenix-London-Sydney) Alliance – Arizona State University, King’s College London and UNSW Sydney – is a unique partnership between three leading international universities. Launched in February 2016, the PLuS Alliance enables research-led solutions to global challenges while expanding access to world-class learning.

The PLuS Alliance provides unique international study opportunities for students in all three universities as well as the Global Knowledge Network. This brings together the expertise and experience of top-tier researchers to collaborate on multi-disciplinary solutions to the global challenges of sustainable development.

In 2016, the PLuS Alliance appointed 116 Fellows, including 38 from UNSW, and they are working with governments and the grassroots organisations to shift policy and solve complex problems. Eleven joint projects were funded in 2016, and ARC Linkage and NHMRC proposals are underway as the network continues to address significant issues related to global health, social justice, sustainability and technology and innovation.

We are creating new opportunities to meet the global demand for higher education in regions around the world. In 2016, the PLuS Alliance launched the Online Course Exchange to make international study more affordable and accessible through innovative digital teaching platforms. UNSW contributed four programs from the Faculty of Medicine and will trial a range of engineering, international tax and cybersecurity programs in 2017.

Executive education and pre-university MOOCs are also in development, as well as a new PLuS Alliance Students Council. In 2017, the PLuS Alliance Prize for Research Innovation and Education Innovation has been launched and two research symposia (in London and Sydney) will be held as well as the launch of the Global Security PLuS network and symposium.

A significant element of the UNSW 2025 Strategy is to extend our global impact through partnerships which provide a new model of international research collaborations, build industry links, and provide a competitive advantage.  It is also designed to ensure graduates have the required profile and capabilities to compete in a global market place. Developing innovative teaching and using technology to enhance and transform the student experience complements initiatives in educational excellence and international education. 

PLuS Alliance Partners

Arizona State University (Phoenix)

ASU is a comprehensive public research university, measured not by whom we exclude, but rather by whom we include and how they succeed; advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves. ASU has been named the most innovative university in the US thanks, in part, to its focus on use-inspired research in sustainability, defence, emergency management and science and technology. ASU has an impressive track record in delivering digital immersion education programmes; it boasts more than 90 academic programmes entirely online.

King’s College London (London)

King’s is one of the top 20 universities in the world (2015/15 QS World University Rankings) and has a particularly distinguished reputation in humanities, health and medicine, law, sciences and social science, including international affairs. Its research has helped shape modern life from the discovery of DNA structure to development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar technology.


UNSW is a recognised leader in innovation, focusing on areas critical to the future from climate change, renewable technologies and sustainable cities to business, public health and human rights. Its solar cell engineers hold world records for converting sunlight into electricity, and its quantum physicists are leading the race to build the world’s first quantum computer in silicon. UNSW has unparalleled industry links, and produces more technology entrepreneurs and top CEOs than any other Australian university.

Four Core Themes

The PLuS Alliance focuses on four core themes around which our research and learning has the greatest impact and influence globally:

Sustainability is the need to ensure that the components and processes of the natural world are not diminished. In this sense, environmental sustainability aims to meet the needs of humans for survival and to sustain biodiversity across the globe. Environmental sustainability is an inherently interdisciplinary concept, including economic, ecological, technological, socio-political, philosophical, governance and legal dimensions. These dimensions determine both the goals of environmental sustainability and help craft effective policy responses. There is a wide range of opportunities to explore human resourcefulness to reduce our demands on key natural resources of air, water, energy, land and biodiversity.

Global Health is concerned with rethinking the meaning of health and wellbeing in the context of globalisation. It focuses on research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. The third of the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals approved in 2015 is to ‘ensure healthy lives and to promote well-being for all at all ages’. Beyond healthy lives being essential to sustainable development, global efforts are also needed to fully address multiple persistent and emerging health issues.

Social Justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. Efforts to promote social justice include poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all. Distributive justice studies how resources are allocated within society, including patterns of inequality relating to gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race, and the intergenerational transmission of poverty and disadvantage. Globally distributive justice engages with patterns of inequality, including those driven or influenced by climate change, urbanisation, and social, cultural or religious traditions and norms.

Technology & Innovation focuses on the technological innovation system developed within the field of innovation studies to explain the nature and rate of technological change. A technological Innovation System is a dynamic network of agents interacting in a specific economic/industrial area under a particular institutional infrastructure and involved in the generation, diffusion and utilisation of technology. This approach may be applied to: a technology in the sense of a knowledge-field, a particular product or an artefact, or a set of related products and artefacts that satisfy a particular (societal) function. This approach has been key in explaining if and how sustainable (energy) technologies have developed and diffused into a society.

How to Engage with PLuS Alliance

Engagement with PLuS Alliance begins through relationships developed with faculty counterparts at ASU and/or King’s or by identifying areas of synergy between your academic program and one offered at an Alliance partner.

This can happen through development of Online Course Exchange programs or through the creation of new concentrations and degrees, and through building collaborative research projects. There are many other opportunities to be involved in symposia, events, conferences, hackathons and. There is information on our website PLuS Alliance and on our social media channels via Twitter and Facebook.

Global Learning Network

Our unique Online Course Exchange enables postgraduate students enrolled in one of the 10 PLuS Alliance-enabled programmed to take articulated coursework and modules at one of the PLuS Alliance universities. These programmes are fully online and therefore open to all learners, regardless of location as long as they are enrolled at a PLuS Alliance university.

PLuS Alliance-enabled programmes

Global Knowedge Network

The PLuS Alliance develops sustainable solutions to society’s global challenges works to a new model for international research collaboration to address the grand challenges of our time.

Learn more about our Global Knowledge Network including the PLuS Alliance Fellows and our cross-border, collaborative projects. Our globe tool will let you view the global impact of the PLus Alliance.


PLuS@UNSW is an expanding information hub introducing academic and professional staff at UNSW to the protocols, practices and resources available for proposed initiatives under the PLuS Alliance. In the first instance, please contact the UNSW PLuS Alliance Director, Vinita Chanan: 9385 3180 /

Further information for UNSW staff

We've created a PLuS Alliance Guide for UNSW staff who'd like further information. Please use your zID and password to access. A PLuS Alliance at UNSW intranet is currently in development.