Foreign Minister Penny Wong has announced the inaugural Maitri Fellowships program to support the two-way exchange of Australian and Indian researchers in foreign trade and policy.
The placements are aimed at building academic capacity and deepening understanding of contemporary perspectives in each country.
Research will focus on economic trends and strategies in dealing with geopolitical issues of interest to Australia and India.
Speaking from the University of Delhi in India, Ms Wong said the program is an investment.
“The Maitri Fellowships program is an investment by the Australian Government in a broader and deeper understanding of the Australia-India relationship, our shared interests and shared challenges,” she said.
“As the partnership between our two countries grows, the importance of this understanding is ever more important.”
The Maitri Fellowships program is administered by the Centre for Australia-India Relations.
17 Australian institutions are eligible to nominate experts for this grant opportunity, including the Lowy Institute, ANU National Security College and Australian Strategic Policy Institute, to name a few.
The $1 million program includes three streams; one to two-year fellowships for senior researchers from India, fellowships of up to six months for early to mid-career researchers from India, and fellowships of up to six months for early to mid-career Australian researchers to go to India.
The Centre for Australia-India Relations CAIR anticipates that around five fellowships will be awarded, with at least one fellowship from each stream of funding.
“The Centre for Australia-India Relations is committed to fostering mutual understanding of Australia and India through informed public commentary and debate,” said Centre for Australia-India Relations CEO Tim Thomas.
The word ‘maitri’ means friendship in Sanskrit.
The federal government announced three Maitri initiatives in February 2022 to strengthen ties between India in Australia.
The government established the Centre for Australia-India Relations in 2023 to facilitate greater collaboration and engagement with India.
There are now four Maitri programs administered by the Centre for Australia-India Relations that intend to boost collaboration between Australia and India in the creative industries, STEM, research, policy, trade and business literacy.
Just last week, applications opened for the inaugural Maitri Scholars Program to support India’s best and brightest STEM students to complete postgraduate degrees at Australian institutions.