The Australian University (AU) has signed a collaboration agreement with Central Queensland University Australia (CQUniversity) to offer a joint "Doctor of Philosophy" degree. The agreement was signed by Prof Isam Zabalawi, AU President, and Prof Grant Stanley, Vice President Research - CQUniversity, during an AU-CQU Joint Research Committee meeting held on June 29, 2022. The PhD program is set to commence during the 2022/2023 academic year and is open to both current AU students and Alumni under the supervision of both universities.

The PhD program aims to support research priorities that are of mutual interest to both universities and will likely include topics in the areas of Regional Economies and Supply Chains; Work, Employment, Regulation and Governance; Sustainable Business and Community Justice; Energy; Environment; Digital Transformation; or Health. Additional research areas may also be considered if there is a demonstrated alignment with the research priorities of both universities and/or with the research objectives of relevant external organizations such as the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS).

AU and CQUniversity have had a long history of research collaboration since the initial Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed in 2015, and with the establishment of the AU-CQUniversity Joint Research Committee in 2016 to drive research cooperation between the two institutions. With support from KFAS, both universities have worked on joint initiatives such as undertaking impactful international research projects in a range of areas related to engineering and business, as well as delivering educational business talks for the wider Kuwait community.

Prof Stanley said: "CQUniversity looks forward to continuing our research relationship through this new program which offers opportunities for CQUniversity and AU staff to work together on student research training to complement the successful work already undertaken via joint research projects. The collaborative PhD model will enable students based in Kuwait to access expertise from CQUniversity as well as travel support to visit Australia during their studies."

For his part, Prof Zabalawi commented: "There is no doubt that the joint program between both universities will further develop higher studies and scientific research and will give students the opportunity to network with their peers at the partner university, along with providing better opportunities for research. We further hope that the partnership will contribute to enhancing the development process undertaken by Kuwait, along with providing more job opportunities in the future. Finally, we at the Australian University believe that through this agreement we will provide better educational opportunities, as no one should be prevented from achieving their potential and acquiring a world-class higher education."