The Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation (AFRAN) Forum was recently held at Murdoch University and used to launch the Indian Ocean Hub.
The Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation (AFRAN) Forum was hosted by Murdoch University last month, with support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, The Embassy of France to Australia and the CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research).
The 2023 Forum, ‘Developing research connections for the Indian Ocean’ was the first to be held in Western Australia.
This eighth annual forum was used to launch the Indian Ocean Hub, an initiative that aims to link regional partners for better knowledge, ambitious innovation and joint policies.
Over the course of two days numerous experts from a wide range of backgrounds, including academics, researchers, non-governmental organisations, business representatives and decision makers, met in person and remotely, to exchange views on topics of interest to the Indian Ocean community including the environment and biodiversity, combatting illegal fishing, energy transition and net zero, climate and earth observation for marine and coastal sustainability, infectious diseases, engagement and community building.
Indo Pacific Research Centre Director Professor Jacqueline Lo said the Forum supported progress of Murdoch’s key commitments.
“Great insights were shared to create a more sustainable future through collaboration and this is a core Murdoch commitment,” Professor Lo said.
“We were delighted to launch the Indian Ocean Hub to build strong and sustainable research partnerships in the region.”
The group also made progress on key regional issues including how to tackle the scientific and regulatory challenges that the Indian Ocean region is facing and how to best address joint issues using the strength of each partner in the region, from La Réunion to Australia, Mauritius, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Murdoch Pro Vice Chancellor Sustainability Professor Martin Brueckner shared his knowledge with attendees, speaking at a thought-provoking panel discussion around ‘Toward Net Zero in the Indian Ocean’.
AFRAN President, Professor Katherine Daniell noted in the Indian-Ocean Hub launch reception speech that the participation at the forum shows there is large potential and interest in strengthening collaboration in the Indian Ocean Region.
“The AFRAN Indian Ocean Hub will complement the work of other organisations and AFRAN geographical hubs and thematic communities to provide research and innovation opportunities for Indian Ocean communities,” Professor Daniell said.
Notable AFRAN attendees included the Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission, Professor Velayoudoum Marimoutou and a business France delegation.
The event was hosted at Murdoch courtesy of Professor Jacqueline Lo and marked the initiation of promising collaborations.
Mr François-Ronan Dubois, Attache for Science and Higher Education, Embassy of France, said he was grateful to all participants for their engagement and contribution to the AFRAN Forum and Indian Ocean Hub.
"I would like to thank particularly our DFAT friends, COI and IORA participants, Murdoch University representatives and staff for their contribution to the organisation of this event," Mr Dubois said.
"We are looking forward to working with all the Western Australian, La Réunion Island and other Indian Ocean universities and research organisations, and to strengthening the Indian Ocean research and innovation network.”
This initiative supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 13, 14, 15 and 17.
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