Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector

The world-class performance and reputation of Australia’s university system is intrinsically linked to the globally engaged and open nature of our universities. Universities play a key role in developing new knowledge and technological innovation. This role is vital to Australia’s continued prosperity, economic growth and international engagement.

A proactive approach to the potential threat of foreign interference helps to safeguard the reputation of Australian universities, protect university students and staff, and ensure our institutions continue to benefit from international collaboration.

It is essential that universities, the community and the Australian Government have confidence that robust and proportionate strategies are in place to manage foreign interference risks to Australia’s university students, staff and research.

About the Guidelines

Guidelines to Counter Foreign Interference in the Australian University Sector

The Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector (the Guidelines) were developed collaboratively between the Australian Government and the university sector to further uplift the foundational elements essential for building awareness and resilience to foreign interference within a university.

The Guidelines are intended to be enduring, specific and measurable, and consider the evolving risks and threats of foreign interference. They support universities to develop new, or examine existing tools, frameworks and resources to assess and mitigate risks from foreign interference. The Guidelines promote greater consistency across the sector and should be applied by each university proportionate to their organisational risk.

About the Guidelines icon

Guidance material

Implementation of the Guidelines is supported by a diverse suite of guidance material, including case studies, templates, tools, references, further advice and other materials, including links to additional Australian and international resources.

The guidance material aligns with the themes in the Guidelines, and will be updated as required, to reflect evolving threats and risks of foreign interference in a rapidly changing security environment.

Australian universities have developed leading practices, with policies and actions that consider their institutional risk profiles, and strengths and priorities proportionate to the risk.

The guidance materials include leading practice examples from, and shared among, the Australian university sector.

Enquiries can be directed to the National Security Engagement Team.