India’s GIFT City campus to be Deakin University’s 1st international foray

India’s GIFT City campus to be Deakin University’s 1st international foray


In a big early win for its efforts to attract foreign universities, India is set to be the first off-shore campus location for Australia’s Deakin University.

According to sources, Deakin University is likely to announce the setting up of a campus within the at Gandhinagar in state of India. An announcement in this regard is likely to be made on March 8 when Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is expected to visit Ahmedabad.

However, what marks the significance of the probable announcement is that India has bagged the coveted distinction of being any leading foreign university’s first international campus location.

Responding to an emailed query to Business Standard, a Deakin University spokesperson confirmed that the Australian varsity doesn’t have a campus in any other country apart from .

Led by National Policy (NEP) 2020 and subsequent notifications by concerned authorities like the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Government of India is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to be a top destination of choice for foreign universities’ off-shore campuses.

According to people aware of the development, while Deakin University will be setting up a campus that will look at both offering programs and conduct research, its Australian counterpart University of Wollongong (UoW) is also likely to announce setting up of a campus.

“Deakin University’s first off-shore campus at is likely to be research focused and initially target undergraduate (UG) programs. This is so that later these students can be transitioned to its PG programs back in . On the other hand, University of Wollongong is also likely to announce a campus,” said one of the persons aware of the development.

But, according to another person close to the development, Deakin is most likely to start with a STEM-based masters program, followed by undergraduate program next year and later research.

In response to an emailed query, Deakin University told Business Standard that 66,000 students study at the varsity annually, “out of which approximately 3000 international students each year are from India”.

Data from the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) pegs the number of Indian students commencing with Australian universities at 52,186 till June 2022, up from 48346 in 2021.

Deakin University ranks in the 251-300 band in the Times Higher (THE)’s World University Rankings 2023 while it is placed 266th in QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings 2023.

Among the leading top 50 global young universities, Deakin University is ranked 42nd in THE’s Young University Rankings 2022.

According to THE, international students at Deakin form 25 per cent of the total student population.

However, what further validates Deakin’s probable efforts to set up an off-shore campus is its recent performance in global rankings in the international outlook metric.

Apparently, Deakin University is globally ranked 27th in terms of international outlook, with a score of 88.7. Similarly, in the QS World University Rankings, Deakin scores a whopping 97.8 in terms of international faculty ratio.

In India, Deakin already has research partners in the likes of IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Jodhpur, IIT Guwahati, TERI Deakin Nano Biotechnology Centre, and Indian School of Business. Whereas Manipal University, Chitkara University, Vellore Institute of Technology, OP Jindal Global University, Symbiosis International University, Great Lake Institute of Management, Great Learning, MDI, PSG College of Technology, and upGrad are some of its academic partners.

On the other hand, UoW had last year signed a formal Letter of Intent (LOI) with to establish a location for teaching, research and industry engagement in GIFT City within a partnership or on a stand-alone basis.

UOW already has strong and ongoing relations with India through strategic research collaborations in the fields of 3D bioprinting, transportation, advanced medicine solutions, and nurturing Indian talent through scholarships, and has long been a popular choice for Indian students studying in .

Initially, it aims to focus on finance, business and STEM Undergraduate programs, the University of Wollongong had earlier stated.

As for GIFT City, ever since its gazette notification by the Government of India in mid-2022, the financial centre has been looking to welcome foreign universities to India’s only operational International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at Gandhinagar. The gazette notification had allowed courses offered in financial management, fintech, science, technology, engineering and mathematics by foreign universities or foreign institutions in the IFSC as financial service.


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