Curtin University will join forces with five of China’s top universities in a collaborative innovation alliance focused on megaproject management in the era of big data and the internet.
Curtin, which co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nanjing University, is the only university outside China involved in the Sino-Australia Collaborative Innovation Alliance (5+1) for Megaproject Management in the Era of Internet+ and Big Data.
The Alliance includes Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tongji University, Huazhong University of Science and Engineering (HUST), and Harbin Institute of Technology – all five of which are ranked within the top 20 of China’s 2,236 universities.
The Alliance – established by Professor Xiangyu Wang of Curtin’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) Centre – will combine industry and university knowledge to facilitate research and foster skill training across both countries.
Curtin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, International, Professor Seth Kunin, said the signing of the MoU was of strategic significance for Australia and would lead to an industry-driven, government-supported and university-operated alliance.
“I believe this Alliance will establish the leading network of academic service providers at all levels, to meet the increasing needs from cross-continent companies in the infrastructure sector,” Professor Kunin said.
“As part of the Alliance, both Curtin University and Nanjing University agree to share teaching materials, engage in staff exchange, develop joint research programs and apply for large-scale joint funding from their respective governments.”
Both universities will develop masterclasses in construction and project management for industry practitioners and PhD scholarships, with a focus on educating the next generation of researchers with experience in both Australia and China, will be offered.
Existing research carried out by the universities will also be utilised to capitalise on various aspects of megaproject management.
“The research teams in Nanjing University and our BIM Centre at Curtin University have already carried out lots of research in the fields of megaproject management, internet, big data and the like,” Professor Kunin said.
“These teams already have abundant achievements and experience, as well as wide academic and practical influence in the related fields.
“This cooperation facilitates the teams to jointly solve industry problems in megaproject management practice, including problems with a strategic, legal, policy, construction or cultural nature; and to foster more talented personnel in related fields.”
The Alliance, with Professor Wang as inaugural Chair, came into effect 1 June 2016. Immediately after the signing ceremony, a two-day International Symposium was held in Nanjing University with key professors from the six universities in the Alliance.