Asian security scholars launch new international exchange program

11 December 2018

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21 emerging scholars located in four countries across three continents came together by video-conference in November to foster a network of PhD students and Early Career Researchers specialising in Asian strategy and security.

The Graduate Research and Development Network on Asian Security (GRADNAS) has just launched a pilot program for international exchange and workshops where up to six pre- and post-docs from the partner institutions spend time overseas developing their careers and working on cutting-edge research on strategic and security issues in Asia.

The pilot program is an innovative collaboration between The Australian National University (ANU) and two leading universities in the US and Asia which also have recognised expertise in Asian security - the University of Southern California (USA) and Nanyang Technological University (Singapore).

The international exchange program has enabled three PhD students from the partner institutions to spend time at ANU in November 2018, and in return, one ANU PhD candidate and one Early Career Researcher will visit the partner institutions in 2019.

Xinru Ma from the University of Southern California visited ANU in November to work on her research project ‘Playing Chicken with Firecrackers: When Do Nationalist Protests Serve as Credible Signals in International Crisis Bargaining?’.

She said “the exchange was incredibly helpful. It provided a wonderful platform to exchange cutting-edge research on critical East Asian security issues. It showcased the diversity of research approaches with the unifying theme of conceptual rigor and methodological innovation. Participants were intellectually generous, engaging and provoking, and I got a lot of insightful comments on my working project.”

Yusuke Ishihara from ANU will visit Nanyang Technological University in May next year to work on his research project ‘Japan’s Renegotiation of the Postwar Bargain in the 1970s’. During the workshop he found “the biggest challenge that I grappled with was the question of how I could present my thesis as something worth attention by the GRADNAS participants who did not necessarily have as keen an interest in Japan as I did. I appreciated the opportunity to face that key issue by actively engaging with diverse scholars of the GRADNAS community and learning from good examples of how other presenters dealt with this question.”

The international exchange program and workshop is supported by a 2018 Strategic Partner Development Grant from the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, with additional seed funding from the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at ANU, as well as the partner institutions.

While the GRADNAS headquarters are based in SDSC at ANU, GRADNAS has 14 partner institutions – all leading universities in East Asia, Europe, the United States and Australia. The network of established scholars partner to support programs for training, exchange and research collaboration.

Professor Evelyn Goh from SDSC convenes the GRADNAS network and acts as a network mentor to the advanced doctoral students and promising early career researchers.

“Together with Professors David Kang (USC) and Ralf Emmers (NTU), we are delighted to spearhead this pilot program, which allows our students and colleagues to engage in substantive research exchange and to build an international network of emerging Asian security scholars. ANU participants especially benefited from exposure to North American and Southeast Asian styles of scholarship, and very much enjoyed hosting our visitors. GRADNAS will build upon this pilot program next year, involving more of our Network partners.”

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