29 November 2017

The Australian Government has awarded scholarships to three University of Queensland students as part of its New Colombo Plan (NCP) 2018 round.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Julie Bishop, named Muirgen O’Seighin, Murray Buchanan and Nicola Cook recipients of the prestigious scholarship at a ceremony at Parliament House on Monday.

The students – chosen for their exceptional academic and leadership qualities – will join around 100 undergraduates from Australian universities who will study in the Indo-Pacific region within the next year.

Ms O’Seighin, a Dual Bachelor of Laws and Arts student, will undertake a law and cultural studies program at Shanghai Jiaotong University, one of China’s oldest and most prestigious institutions.

With a keen interest in renewables, the aspiring environmental lawyer plans to study China’s unique energy framework and explore how it could inform the development of Australian networks.

“Australia is entering into a new energy future, and there are many lessons to be learnt from China,” Ms O’Seighin said.

“It will be an amazing opportunity to learn about China’s renewable energy network first-hand and to research energy regulation, particularly network security, the integration of distributed energy resources, and the practical implementation of a clean energy target.”

Ms O’Seighin, who has studied Asian Legal Systems, also plans to undertake an internship with a Chinese legal firm to strengthen her practical skills and to connect with clients across Australasia.     

Mr Buchanan, a Dual Bachelor of Laws and Arts student and active United Nations Youth Australia volunteer, will study law, court procedure and human rights at the University of Indonesia. Through an internship with the Indonesian Judicial Commission and the Constitutional Court of Indonesia, he also hopes to build on institutional ties established earlier in the year through recent NCP alumnus, international law student Mr Alexander Williams.

Meanwhile, dual Bachelor of Journalism and Arts student Nicola Cook is set for Seoul, where she will study at Korea University. While there, she plans to use her journalism skills to promote South Korean culture through an internship with the Asia Society, a non-profit organisation that focuses on boosting global knowledge on South Korea and the broader Asian region.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Professor Iain Watson said the University valued its links within the Indo-Pacific, and that the NCP Scholarship Program provided career-shaping opportunities for students in a rapidly developing economic region.   

“Global connectivity is at the heart of UQ’s vision to create knowledge leadership for a better world. Partnering with leading research institutions, government bodies and community groups around the world – particularly with our neighbours in the Indo-Pacific – is helping us find solutions to the biggest challenges of our time including coral reef conservation, sustainable energy, and disease control,” he said. 

“We congratulate Muirgen, Murray, and Nicola, and commend their extraordinary drive to make their world a safer, more equitable, and more sustainable place.”

In addition to the three NCP Scholarship recipients, more than 400 UQ students will study and undertake placements in the region next year thanks to NCP Mobility Program funding announced in August.

For more information on the New Colombo Plan Scholarship and Mobility Grant Programs, contact UQ Global Engagement. Media: Irini Cavalliotis, i.cavalliotis@uq.edu.au +61 73346 0617 or Dr Jessica Gallagher, j.gallagher@uq.edu.au +61 7 3346 7869.