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Call for expressions of interest: community impact

21 Jun 2016

IEAA is seeking expressions of interest from interested researchers for a forthcoming research paper on the impact of international education on Australian communities.


The economic impact of international education in Australia is well understood and is frequently a key focus of policy research and public dialogue on international education. The international public diplomacy benefits have also been acknowledged through the Australia Awards Program and the New Colombo Plan.

It is now generally accepted that international education enhances the international perception of Australia as a nation, and benefits our country through favourable business, government, educational and personal relationships.

The impact of international education on the Australian community is less understood or articulated. While many educators and practitioners believe deeply in the positive values of internationalisation of our education institutions, assessing these benefits empirically remains challenging. A recent  IEAA paper on the benefits of outbound mobility found that while a case can be made for positive social benefits, more research is needed to clarify these connections and assigned quantitative and qualitative values.

Aim and scope

To encourage positive dialogue among the wider population, IEAA is commissioning a research paper to assess and document the community impact of international education. The scope of the paper is broad and inclusive, with the exception of the economic impact, which is already well documented.

Community impact may include (and is not limited to) the:

  • Enrichment of communities by educated international residents
  • Diversity added to schools through enrolment of dependents
  • Expansion of different cultures in our communities (e.g. enjoyment of a greater diversity of food and other consumer items)
  • Greater understanding and different perspectives on global and local issues brought to the average Australian citizen through engagement with regional neighbours and friends
  • Benefits of international students to Australian businesses, in terms of forming connections with international networks; becoming ambassadors for Australia in their home countries and the soft power of vast networks of alumni
  • Development of networks for domestic students at Australian education institutions
  • Internationalisation of the curriculum at Australian education institutions
  • Expansion of networks for academics at Australian institutions, the impact upon research and the application of research to society.

Key research questions

  1. Has the community impact of international education been documented in other countries, and what can we learn from this work?
  2. International education has now been a focus of Australian institutions for more than 30 years. What change has occurred in the Australian community as a result?
  3. What is the nature and impact of these changes both locally and globally?

While we expect the research to engage the IEAA stakeholder base at some stages, the methodology and scope is open to negotiation with the IEAA Research and Publications Committee as the project is developed.

Reference Link: https://www.ieaa.org.au/news/call-for-expressions-of-interest-community-impact

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