North­eastern fac­ulty member Marcus Breen, an Aus­tralian who chairs the Melbourne-​​Boston Sister City Asso­ci­a­tion, sees a big future Down Under for the University’s fac­ulty and students.

Northeastern’s joint degree pro­gram with Swin­burne Uni­ver­sity in Mel­bourne and other ini­tia­tives in Aus­tralia — ranging from tra­di­tional study-​​abroad pro­grams to intern­ships and research co-​​ops — posi­tion the Uni­ver­sity to take advan­tage of a new part­ner­ship between Mass­a­chu­setts and the state of Vic­toria, says Breen, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies.

The Mass­a­chu­setts Office of Inter­na­tional Trade and Invest­ment recently signed an agree­ment with the Vic­toria Depart­ment of Inno­va­tion, Industry and Regional Devel­op­ment, pro­moting bilat­eral trade and invest­ment as well as infor­ma­tion and aca­d­emic exchange.

Mel­bourne, Victoria’s state cap­ital, is “con­sid­ered to be the cul­tural cap­ital of Aus­tralia, and the edu­ca­tional center as well,” Breen says. Aus­tralians tend to be very out­ward looking and cre­ative, he added, and he expects that cre­ativity to mix well with Northeastern’s brand of expe­ri­en­tial and global education.

We already have a well estab­lished part­ner­ship with Swin­burne, which is going very well, and there are so many other great aca­d­emic insti­tu­tions, including the Uni­ver­sity of Mel­bourne, Monash Uni­ver­sity, and the Royal Mel­bourne Insti­tute of Tech­nology,” he says. “My ambi­tion is to have some formal inter­ac­tions with uni­ver­si­ties there, while devel­oping project-​​based activ­i­ties that will be sup­ported by par­tic­i­pants on both sides of the planet.”

With the offi­cial agree­ment between Mass­a­chu­setts and the Vic­toria, Breen antic­i­pates addi­tional resources will be allo­cated to forge col­lab­o­ra­tive ties in a number of industry and research sec­tors, including clean/​renewable energy, finan­cial ser­vices, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, tech­nology and life sci­ences, he says.

There is a great deal of nan­otech­nology research taking place in Aus­tralia, and I see this as an area of big poten­tial for col­lab­o­ra­tions,” Breen says. “Both states are deeply com­mitted to tech­nology and envi­ron­mental sci­ence and want to enhance the inter­ac­tion between all stakeholders.”