• Higher Education Summit

    Collaboration, Alignment, Partnerships

    30 September – 1 October 2020
    Hilton Adelaide

    Book Now

Special Govt, Academia rates available // See pricing below

Due to the escalation and ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19 we have taken the decision to re-schedule the AFR Higher Education Summit to 30 September – 1 October 2020 at the Hilton Adelaide.

All registrations will be transferred to the new date. If you have any queries, please contact our Customer Service team on 02 9080 4307 or email: info@informa.com.au


The Australian Financial Review’s Higher Education Summit returns this August, bringing together the sectors’ most esteemed and exciting thought-leaders and disruptors to discuss the future of higher education in Australia.

With the incisive, independent style it is known for, the two-day Summit will once again interrogate prevailing policies and practices and showcase transformational innovation from Australia and abroad – all with a focus on uncovering the critical forces that will shape the competitive Higher Education landscape in the years ahead.

Register your interest to receive updates on the program & speakers.





Welcome address

Michael Stutchbury, Editor-in-Chief, The Australian Financial Review



Keynote: Australia’s Higher Education Outlook

  • The state of and influences on university finances
  • International student numbers: outlook and implications
  • The policy landscape: what can we expect from a Morrison Government?
  • A changing economy, a changing society and a changing tertiary education sector
  • Sector consolidation: forces and prospects

John O’Mahony, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics


PANEL: A Macro Look at Australia’s Higher Education Sector – Where are we heading?

Andrew Norton, Higher Education Project Director, Grattan Institute
Peter Varghese, Chancellor, UQ
Rod Jones, Chairman, Navitas
Colette Rogers, National Leader, Education, Deloitte
Moderator: Michael Stutchbury, Editor in Chief, The Australian Financial Review



Addressing the Shift and Decline in Number of Chinese Undergraduates

  • Can Australia do better than our competitor study destination countries in providing genuine course related employability options to Chinese undergraduates?
  • If Australia aspires to be a top post graduate study destination country for Chinese students are we providing the most student friendly visa application procedures, the best possible student services and access to world class research opportunities?
  • As China based international high schools become more popular, are Australian universities doing enough to recruit these schools’ matriculating students into their undergraduate courses?

Hon Phil Honeywood, CEO, International Education Association of Australia


INTERNATIONAL KEYNOTE: India’s Higher Education Landscape – The Potential and Pitfalls

  • What does India want in higher education
  • What potential does India see in Australia and what concessions are needed
  • What areas are India most interested in

Professor V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi (India)


PANEL: What Opportunities exist for Partnership and Collaboration with India

  • Improving Diversity, Inclusion and Access to Higher Education
  • Mobility
  • Research ventures
  • Financing

Professor V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi (India)
Professor Craig Jeffrey, Director, Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne
Dr. Manisha Priyam, National University of Educational Planning and Administration (India)
Moderator: Robert Bolton, Education Editor, The Australian Financial Review


Refreshments and Networking Break



Review into Freedom of Speech in Australian Higher Education Providers

  • Understanding freedom of speech, academic freedom, intellectual inquiry, and freedom of expression
  • Strengthening protections through the adoption of a Code of practice – Overseas examples
  • Maintaining institutional autonomy
  • Academic freedom and Australian law
  • Social media and the acceptable use of IT

The Hon. Robert Shenton French AC, Chancellor, University of Western Australia


PANEL:  What Price Freedom?

  • Are we at a crisis point for academic freedom?
  • Do we need a universal code of practice, or should each institution find its own way?
  • Is it freedom or tyranny? Where is the middle ground?
  • When does free speech become hate speech?

Dr Alison Barnes, National President, National Tertiary Education Union
The Hon. Robert Shenton French AC, Chancellor, University of Western Australia
Professor Jan Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, Massey University (New Zealand)
Moderator: Michael Pelly, Legal Editor, The Australian Financial Review


Lunch and Networking



MINISTERIAL KEYNOTE | Delivering Policy for the Future Higher Education Sector

The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education


PANEL: Successful Partnerships – What We Can Learn From Clever Collaborations

Professor Peter Hoj, Vice-Chancellor, UQ
Professor Paul Wellings, Vice-Chancellor, University of Wollongong
Professor Geraldine Mackenzie, Vice-Chancellor, USQ
Michael Edwards, General Manager, Boeing Research & Technology Australia
Sean Wong, Technology and Innovation Manager, Bluescope Steel
Moderator: Sally Patten, Editor, BOSS Magazine


Afternoon tea & Networking



INTERNATIONAL CASE STUDY | The Successful Merger of Two French Universities

Professor Jean Chambaz, President, Sorbonne University (France) *Via video link


PANEL: Do Australian Universities need to merge in order to compete globally?

  • Discussion on shared campus space
  • Join programs
  • Shared facilities
  • Greater collaboration

Professor Peter Rathjen, Vice-Chancellor and President, University of Adelaide
Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, The University of Sydney
Jiewen Gan, Head of Data Team, Shanghai Rankings (China)
Professor Eeva Lienonen, Vice-Chancellor, Murdoch University
Moderator: Giselle Hodgson, Strategy and Business Design Lead Partner, Deloitte


Equity and University Admissions

Professor Ian Jacobs, Vice-Chancellor and President, UNSW


VICE-CHANCELLOR ROUND TABLE: Where the Opportunities lie for Australia’s Higher Education Sector over the next 10 years

Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice-Chancellor & Chair of the Go8, University of Western Australia
Professor Barney Glover AO, Vice-Chancellor and President, Western Sydney University
Professor Deborah Terry AO, Vice-Chancellor, Curtin University
Professor Margaret Sheil AO, Vice-Chancellor, QUT
Moderator: Michael Kissane, Global Lead Partner, Economic Advisory Services, Deloitte


End of Day One


AFR Higher Education Awards Ceremony


Opening remarks

Post-Secondary Education


Future Outcomes Across Different Models

(Presenters will be given 10 minutes each followed by a panel discussion)

Professor Peter Dawkins AO, Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University
Professor Carolyn Evans, Vice-Chancellor, Griffith University – Regional Opportunities
Moderator: Mark Ludlow, Brisbane Bureau Chief, The Australian Financial Review


Post bachelor preferences for bridging the future skills gap

  • Who do employees think is best placed to address the skills gap?
  • What are they prepared to do to bridge this gap?
  • What changes could increase participation in accredited postgraduate study?

Colette Rogers, National Leader, Education, Deloitte
David Rumbens, Partner, Deloitte Access Economics


Morning Tea & Networking


Population and Participation, Performance and Post-School Pathways

  • How to enhance opportunity for Australians of all backgrounds in higher education.
  • How do Australian universities perform and what are the risks in performance funding?
  • How post-school pathways expand opportunity

Catriona Jackson, Chief Executive, Universities Australia


PANEL: Funding Post-Secondary Education

  • Performance measurement and funding

Craig Robertson, CEO, TAFE Directors Australia
Andrew Norton, Higher Education Program Director Grattan Institute
Catriona Jackson, Chief Executive, Universities Australia
Megan Lilly, Head of Workforce Development, AIGroup
Moderator: Will Gort, Deloitte Access Economics


What happens next? Understanding the Complexities Around Choice and PSE

Saxon Phipps, Founder, Year 13


Future of Research

Vicki Thomson, CEO, Group of Eight (Go8)


Lunch & Networking

The Future of Research


International Keynote: Exploring the Rankings Methodology

  • Understanding why the focus is so heavily placed on research
  • What are the plans to extend reach and influence globally

Jiewen Gan, Head of Data Team, Shanghai Rankings (CHINA)


PANEL: Metrics of Research Success

Professor Theo Farrell, Treasurer, Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (DASSH)
Professor Brian Yates, Executive Dean, University of Tasmania & President, Australian Council of Deans of Science
Dr. Cathy Foley, Chief Scientist, CSIRO
Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, Vice-Chancellor and President The University of Newcastle
Moderator: Robert Bolton, Education Editor, The Australian Financial Review


The University Campus of the Future – Structural Changes Require Innovative Solutions

  • How a collaborative approach can deliver transformative education infrastructure across Australia
  • Co-locating education and industry to create pathways for the leaders of tomorrow
  • Attracting talent through the provision of the best learning environments in the best locations, close to transport and amenity
  • Forging successful partnerships to deliver innovative solutions to real estate requirements

Andrew Borger, Head of Office Development, Charter Hall


Afternoon tea & Networking

Student Success


PANEL:  The Future of MBAs

Professor Nick Wailes, Director, AGSM and Deputy Dean of the UNSW Business School
Professor Julie Cogin, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Vice President, RMIT University
Paul Wappett, CEO, Australian Institute of Business
Moderator: Sally Patten, Editor, BOSS Magazine


What’s in a Name? Possible Landing Points for the Review of Provider Category Standards

Emeritus Professor Peter Coaldrake AO, Reviewer, Higher Education Provider Category Standards


Panel: Challenges facing Private Providers

Professor Justin Beilby, Vice-Chancellor, Torrens University
Professor Paul Oslington, Professor of Economics and Dean of Business, Alphacrucis College
Professor Tim Brailsford, Vice-Chancellor & President, Bond University
Professor Margot Kearns, Deputy-Vice Chancellor, Notre Dame University
Moderator: Laura Rennie, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte


Close of Conference

Confirmed speakers for 2020 include

Professor Warrick McKibbin
Professor of Economics, Australian National University

Professor Paul Wellings
Vice-Chancellor, University of Wollongong

Vicki Thompson
CEO, Group of Eight (Go8)

Professor David Lloyd
Vice-Chancellor, UniSA

Professor Dawn Freshwater
Vice- Chancellor, University of Western Australia

Andrew Norton
Professor in the Practice of Higher Education Policy, ANU

Catriona Jackson
Universities Australia

John O’Mahony
Partner, Deloitte Access Economics

Anthony Walker
Director, Sovereign and International Public Finance, S&P Global Ratings


Govt and Academia - Early Bird
$1,795 + GST

Package (Two Days)

Book Now

Expires on August 15 2020

Govt and Academia - Early Bird
$2,095 + GST

Package (Two Days)

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From 16 August 2020

Awards Dinner
$325 + GST

Single ticket only

Book Now
Industry Rate - Early Bird
$2,795 + GST

Package (Two Days)

Book Now

Expires on August 15 2020

Industry Rate - Standard Rate
$3,095 + GST

Package (Two Days)

Book Now

From 16 August 2020

Awards Dinner - Table of Ten
$2,925 + GST

Single ticket only

Book Now

AFR Higher Education Awards 2020

The 6th Annual AFR Higher Education Awards will also return this August. Join us on 30 September 2020 at the Hilton Brisbane for a Gala Dinner honoring the most impressive contributions in the Higher Education space. Nominations are now open across 10 categories.

Click here for more information.

Awards Gala Dinner

Date: Tuesday 28th August 2018
Venue: Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, Savoy Ballroom
123 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9657 1234
Pre-Dinner Drinks:
7.00pm – 7.30pm
7.30pm – 10.30pm
Dress Code:
Cocktail / business attire

The Winners of the AFR Higher Education Awards will be announced and honoured at a sumptuous Gala Dinner, presented by UniSuper, on Tuesday 28th August. The Gala will take place at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne.

The evening will commence with a drinks reception, followed by dinner and the presentation of the AFR Higher Education Awards. The dress code is cocktail/business attire.

You can book individual places or tables of 10 using our online booking system ‘select BOOK NOW’. For tables of 10, you will be contacted by email prior to the event to provide your dinner guests’ details. If you have any problems with your booking, please email info@informa.com.au

We are delighted to announce Dr Susan Carland is now confirmed as MC for the 2018 AFR Higher Education Awards Gala Dinner.

Event Images 2019

Below is a snippet of images from the 2019 AFR Higher Education Summit.

To view all images across the two day summit – visit the event Flickr album.

When & Where


30 September – 1 October 2020

Hilton Adelaide
233 Victoria Square, Adelaide SA 5000
+61 (08) 8217 2000

Book accommodation with HotelMaps
To access the best available rate, book here.

Contact Us

Still have a question?

Keith Barks
General Manager
+61 2 9080 4342

Alex Cook
Sponsorship Manager
+61 2 9080 4425