The University Foreign Interference Taskforce - 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 by the University Foreign Interference Taskforce. The guidelines are intended to protect the university sector against foreign interference, through supporting an environment of trust and guiding decision making, based on potential risks, so Australian universities can continue to produce world-class research.

On 28 August 2019, Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, announced the establishment of a University Foreign Interference Taskforce, which brought together universities and Australian government agencies to develop a set of best practice guidelines.

The guidelines have been developed jointly through a steering group and four working groups (Research and Intellectual Property, Foreign Collaboration, Cyber Security, Communication and Culture), with approximately 40 members across government and the sector, representing 13 universities and 10 Australian Government agencies.

As well as the four areas of focus of the working groups, overarching principles to inform the development of the guidelines were:

  • security must safeguard academic freedom, values and research collaboration;
  • research, collaboration and education activities must be mindful of national interest;
  • security is a collective responsibility with individual accountability;
  • security should be proportionate to organisational risk; and
  • the safety of our university community is paramount.

The sector has been a key contributor to the guidelines. The process has been collaborative and has delivered guidelines that are applicable, scalable and implementable for all universities.

The guidelines are now available.

Further information

Development of University Foreign Interference Taskforce- guiding framework