Key measures to protect teaching, research and uni data from foreign interference

16 February 2023

Media Release – ATN Universities – key measures to protect teaching, research and uni data from foreign interference 

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) has confirmed its member universities have undertaken substantial work to protect against the risk of foreign interference.

Following the Federal Government’s response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) report on national security risks to Australia’s higher education and research sector, ATN Executive Director, Luke Sheehy, has welcomed confirmation from Education Minister, Jason Clare, that the sector has already brought in safeguards.

“There are significant, and continuous, measures put in place to shield our universities from credible threats, and we are pleased the Government has recognised this commitment by the higher education sector,” said Mr Sheehy.

“The Government’s response has been measured and proportionate and in line with ATN’s recommendation that we should use the University Foreign Interference Taskforce (UFIT) as the focal point for tackling foreign interference and related issues, to build on the genuine partnership between Government and universities.”

The Committee’s report outlined strategies in which to better protect Australia’s higher education sector from risks presented by hostile foreign actors, as well as data theft and espionage.

“ATN will continue to help protect our critical teaching, research and community engagement by working through UFIT and with the Australian Government through the Departments of Education, Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs and Trade and others,” Mr Sheehy added.

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Frank Coletta (Manager, Media and Communications) m: 0468 987 295 e:

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) was established in 1999 and brings together Australia’s six real world universities focused on enterprise, impact and finding solutions to issues facing our rapidly changing economy and society. Our member universities are Curtin University, Deakin University, RMIT University, The University of Newcastle, University of South Australia, and University of Technology Sydney. Our universities produce Australia’s most job-ready graduates and undertake world-class research with real-world impact. Through our innovation we are proud disruptors challenging the status quo. ATN universities provide world-class education to almost 310,000 students and teach 20 per cent of domestic higher education students and 19 per cent of international students. We are the fastest-growing university grouping in terms of domestic students. Together, we are proud of who we include, not exclude, with a strong commitment to equity, excellence, and social justice. ATN is one of Australia’s leading university peak bodies with a track record of advocating and shaping positive policy outcomes with all levels of government.