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From Melbourne, Australia’s Knowledge Capital, to Destination Dublin

Can Melbourne’s dual strategies of knowledge-city development and international student focus be achieved in Dublin?

Author - Claire Doran



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Recent years have seen Dublin’s status as a player in the global economy increase significantly. In order to achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan 2007–2013 (2006), Dublin must ensure that it continues its trajectory in this regard. In terms of international higher education (HE), Ireland aims to be ‘a player in the top league’ (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] 2006: 65), but it has not achieved this to date. While Irish higher education institutions (HEIs) have increased their international student numbers in recent years, they are in danger of being outperformed in the internationalization stakes by their European neighbours (International Education Board Ireland [IEBI] 2009). This paper proposes that the overall objective of increasing Dublin’s knowledge-city status and the HEIs’ objective of increased internationalization can be achieved through collaboration involving the region’s diverse stakeholders. Dublin will thus succeed in enhancing its global status as a knowledge city-region and increase its competitive advantage in a globalized world. Such an approach is already in place in the city of Melbourne, Australia. Indeed, in its search for like-minded international partner-cities, Melbourne’s Office of Knowledge Capital has approached Dublin to collaborate on knowledge-related projects. This paper aims to establish whether Melbourne’s approach could be successfully adopted in Dublin.

The paper is divided into five sections. The first section will present a brief review of the literature on globalization, regionalization, HE and internationalization. Section 2 explores current developments in Dublin, namely the Dublin City Council’s international policy framework and the Dublin Regional Higher Education Alliance’s internationalization strand. The third section will provide a brief introduction to Melbourne’s Office of Knowledge Capital, its objectives, strategies and actions. Section 4 will present a detailed analysis of the Melbourne approach and ascertain if a similar approach can be successfully implemented in Dublin. Finally, recommendations for future developments in Dublin will be put forward.

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