Established in Sydney in 1964, the Macquarie University, Australia, is consistently ranked amongst the top universities in the world as per the QS ranking 2015. It was created during a time of extrao-rdinary social transformation to be a different kind of university, a bold experiment in higher education.   True to its founders’ vision, it has challenged the conventional thinking of academia through innovations in its campus set-up, curricula, inter-disciplinary research and engage-ment with industry and the wider community. Recently, the university has joined hands with three leading Indian institutions to offer schol-arships and foster stronger ties around the globe. 
   Tim Beresford, chief operating officer and deputy vice-chancellor, Macquarie University talks about the new academic partnerships being signed in India. Excerpts from an interview:
How has education trends changed over years?
In the last few years several changes have become prevalent in the higher education sector, with many of these playing an important role in meeting the demands. One of the most significant trends we have witnessed is the need to equip graduates with the soft skills that employers are desperately seeking.
These include key skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication and the ability to work with others, which are some of the future skills graduates will need to be successful. We are also starting to see a shift towards mobile learning with more innovative education applications coming onto the market, allowing students to access their course materials no matter where they are. 
How would you describe the ongoing partnership between India and Macquarie University?
As a leading international university it is important for Macquarie to partner with and foster stronger ties with key institutions. Students from India represent a significant portion of our global student intake bringing with them valuable insights and perspectives that add even more diversity to our already vibrant campus. We value our two-way relationship with different partnerships underway.  Cafral, Reserve Bank of India and Macquarie University will deliver its third training programme for chief executive officers and managing directors of Indian banks in February 2017. The programme will be delivered in Sydney and will be focused on building and strengthening financial services capacity in asset optimisation, risk management and people leadership. Another such is the SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai and Macquarie’s relationship is about building a research and teaching partnership between institutions. SP Jain is in the process of developing their PhD programme and Macquarie plans to partner with them for co-supervision of students and build research capacity by connecting researchers at both institutions.
Do you provide any scholarship assistance for international students? 
We have a number of different scholarship opportunities. In fact, recently we announced scholarships valued more than $ 1.8 million for outstanding students in India. These new scholarships will focus on providing support and opportunities for postgraduate female students and undergraduate students across all Macquarie courses. We have also announced the Macquarie International Women’s Scholarship for postgraduate female students with up to $11,000 in tuition fees for the full duration of the course. 
What are some of the new academic partnerships being signed in India?
This year at Macquarie University we have joined hands with three leading Indian institutions to offer scholarships and grants to exchange postgraduate students. The three Indian institutions involved in the agreement include Lady Shri Ram College for Women in Delhi, The Tata Institute of Social Science in Mumbai and St Xavier’s College in Kolkata. As part of these agreements Macquarie University’s Faculty of Arts will offer a Merit Scholarship as well as an Ambassador Scholarship with two of each scholarship offered per institution. The Merit Scholarship will include 50 per cent tuition fee to study a Master’s course at the University’s Faculty of Arts. The Ambassador Scholarship will include full tuition fee waiver for the exchange semester as well as a $ 5,000 grant for living expenses. Both scholarships include the opportunity to work part-time in Australia to gain practical experience. 
   Based in Sydney, Australia Macquarie University’s Faculty of Arts has recently been ranked in the top 100 worldwide according to the 2016/17 UK Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject. Being able to partner with Indian educational institutes and offer their students the opportunity to study in a new environment is very exciting. We look forward to welcoming the first scholarship awardees in the New Year. 
What are the new developments at Macquarie University?
A multi-disciplinary Cyber Security Hub to support businesses and government to recognise and protect themselves from increasing cyber threat that covers three academic disciplines. The Macquarie Park Innovation District will invest heavily into one of Australia’s fastest-growing regions to collaborate and create innovative solutions to local and global problems.
MPID has the potential to become Australia’s own globally-recognised centre for innovation. This will be a world will be a world-class, collaborative ecosystem – where researchers, entrepreneurs and some of the world’s most-recognised businesses come together to incubate creativity and find unique solutions to global and community issues
According to you, what are the factors leading to the growth of Indian students opting for higher education in Australia?
The opportunity to work part-time in Australia and gain practical experience, access to world-class facilities, an international curriculum and research achievements particularly in science and engineering. Sydney, in particular, is ranked among the best student cities in the world (according to QS 2015), and Macquarie University has a five-star QS rating and global reputation for expertise in areas like business and health and medical sciences. We produce graduates who are among the most sought-after professionals in the world.