With technological change at the heart of the net zero transformation, Australia and India have great opportunity to collaborate closely to achieve our 2050 and 2070 goals. This is clearly evident in the current round of negotiations towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between both countries.

At UNSW, we believe that research can cross borders and our R&D portfolio can offer rewarding and durable pathways for collaboration in areas of shared interest. Energy-related R&D is an excellent case in point, with UNSW and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) from India renewing their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 8 May 2024 in Sydney. 

The renewed agreement will seed deeper partnerships in research, education, and technology development, as discussed between the visiting TERI delegation, UNSW leadership, and various UNSW centers of excellence. The many areas of shared research interest include digitalisation of energy systems, decentralisation of energy supplies, and cross-sectoral issues that energy is at the heart of, including agriculture, transport, industry, and regional development.

MoU signing ceremony with UNSW DVC Global Professor Colin Grant and TERI DG Dr. Vibha Dhawan on 8 May at UNSW Sydney

Specific opportunities that were discussed over the two-day visit included: integration of rooftop solar systems, where Australia leads the world in per capita uptake and where India plans to rapidly expand with 10 million solar households announced by Prime Minister Modi; opportunities for modelling net-zero energy pathways, which will likely be different for both countries but are also likely to be inherently linked; exploring the potential of digital engineering to optimise and renew energy use across the energy and transportation sectors as India deploys 500GW of capacity by 2030; and partnering to share expertise in the Indo-Pacific region.

On education, the MoU is expected to catalyse scholarly exchange, student and early career internships, and other mutual learning opportunities in the energy sector, contributing to workforce development as Australia and India race to transition energy systems. It will also serve to support workforce development opportunities for partners in the region.

The MoU also provides the space for exploring opportunities to accelerate the commercialisation of new energy technologies through collaboration, in effect bringing new technologies to market in a far-shorter timeframe by scaffolding inventions within UNSW-TERI institutional environments and working with pooled industry partners to scale.