$2.5 million funding for New Colombo Plan projects

Close to 800 students will have the opportunity to visit the Indo-Pacific region in 2018 thanks to $2.5 million from the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan Mobility program.


UNSW students take part in the Island Innovation Lab, funded through the New Colombo Plan Mobility grants.

Close to 800 students, the largest ever contingent from UNSW, will have the opportunity to visit the Indo-Pacific region in 2018, thanks to $2.5 million in funding from the New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility program.

The NCP is an initiative of the Australian Government that aims to enhance knowledge of the Indo-Pacific among young Australians. The grants will help UNSW students travel and study in 15 countries including Nepal, Palau, India, China and Korea.

UNSW Pro Vice-Chancellor International Laurie Pearcey said the mobility grants provided a great opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the region, and build connections with overseas partners for the future.

“This record result is a reflection of both the Australian Government’s growing commitment to the NCP and UNSW’s own focus on expanding opportunities for our students as a key part of our global impact agenda," he said.

"These projects will provide extraordinary opportunities for our students to forge people-to-people ties across some of Australia’s largest trading partners, emerging neighbours and in developing communities around the region.” 

Twenty-nine UNSW projects have been funded for 2018 under the NCP program, as well as another 11 multi-year projects.

Projects include the Pollinate Energy Partnership to support energy-poor slum dwellers in India, the Island Innovation Lab in Palau, which will develop social entrepreneurship projects in the region, and the UNSW Humanitarian Engineering Design Summit in Nepal.

UNSW student Sonia Parulekar has been named as the inaugural New Colombo Plan Alumni Ambassador for UNSW.

The NCP Alumni Ambassadors Program supports one alumnus from each Australian university to promote the NCP and the value of Indo-Pacific engagement on campus and to their communities, including school students, community groups and local businesses. 

"I am extremely excited to have been appointed by DFAT as the inaugural New Colombo Plan Alumni Ambassador for UNSW," Parulekar said.

"My New Colombo Plan experience was personally and professionally transformational and the ability to share this with others and help them embark on their own NCP journeys is an honour."

An Indigenous Alumni Ambassador has also been selected for a national role to support the participation of Indigenous students in the NCP through university and community engagement

The NCP was launched in 2014, and in 2018 will support 13,000 undergraduates from 40 Australian universities to live, study and complete internships in 35 countries across the Indo-Pacific region.