Defining an "Asia Capability" for Australia's Public Service

Duration: October 2013 to October 2014

Research team

  • Dr Sara Bice, Faculty of Arts, UoM
  • Associate Professor Prof Hamish Coates, Education, UoM
  • Professor Leo Goedegebuure, Education, UoM
  • Mr John Cross, State Services Authority, Victoria

Project summary

Global shifts in economic, political and even socio-cultural power suggest the 21st century may very well be the 'Asian Century'. The direct response of the Australian Government to these opportunities and challenges includes a strong focus on enhancing the capacity of the Australian public service to engage more fully and effectively with Asian countries. Since the White Paper's October 2012 release, other branches and levels of Australian government, from state to local, have taken up the 'Asia capabilities' mantra. Most recently the Commonwealth Government dedicated $35 million over 10 years to support the National Centre for Asia Capability, which will provide professional development aimed at improving Australian corporate engagement with the region.

Despite widespread support for the call to enhance Australians' 'Asia capabilities', ideas about what, exactly, these capabilities might entail remain vague. Moreover, this lack of definition means it is not possible to measure or track the current levels or any future improvements in 'Asia capability' skills development. This project therefore applies existing knowledge about the definition and measurement of 'generic skills' from the field of higher education research to explore and outline the specific types and degrees of capabilities which may comprise the much lauded but elusive 'Asia capability'.

Research Program

Knowledge and Expertise