Mixing it with the world’s best


The University of Sydney has a long term commitment towards China writes Professor John Hearn.
Two years on from China’s masterful staging of the Olympic Games, the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai promises to be another dazzling global event.

For Australia, one of the biggest challenges at the Expo is to prove to the hosts that when it comes to ingenuity and innovation, we can match up to the world’s best. And let’s be under no illusions, this is no easy task. To many Chinese, America is the country you look to for innovation, while Australia is the country you look to for resources, for holidays, or for education.

It will take time to change perceptions, but the Expo at least gives us an opportunity to start the process. As a Gold Sponsor of the Australian pavilion, the University of Sydney takes its commitment to China seriously. We are the only Australian university to be involved in the Expo at this level, and see our engagement with China as a long-term relationship that brings benefits to both sides.

Professor Ben Eggleton (Left) is working on a project that could vastly increase the speed of the internet

For us, the Expo will be a success if China starts to recognise that Australian innovators are as good as any in the world. People like Ben Eggleton, who worked at Lucent Technologies in the US and has now returned home to the University to continue his research into fibre optic systems. Or Bryan Gaensler, who worked at MIT and Harvard, and is now here planning the development of the Square Kilometre array, a radio telescope that will be 10,000 times more powerful than anything that exists today. Or Hugh Durrant-Whyte, a world expert in field robotics and autonomous vehicles.


We cannot afford to be complacent. We need to keep pushing ourselves. An event like the Expo underlines not just how diverse and fascinating the world is, but how competitive it is as well. But at the University of Sydney, innovation is always a top priority.


*Professor John Hearn is the Vice-President International at the University of Sydney and Chief Executive of the Worldwide Universities Network. He has visited and worked in China for more than 30 years.
For more information visit www.sydney.edu.au


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