Criminal law, sustainable agriculture, and healthy ageing are focus of strategic partnership with the University of Zurich

28 May 2021

Building on existing joint research in agriculture, criminal law, and psychology, The University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of Zurich (UZH) strategic partnership plan will solidify its long-standing cooperation and expand global impact.

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry AO and UZH President Michael Schaepman signed the strategic partnership plan during a virtual ceremony on 22 February 2021.

UQ–UZH virtual signing ceremony

Professor Terry said the partnership plan would allow both institutions to continue to cooperate to address current global challenges.

“Given the range and relevance of our existing collaborations, I am extremely confident that UQ and UZH can continue to work together to produce key global outcomes, especially in the fields of sustainable agriculture and plant sciences, and healthy ageing, which will contribute to our respective nations and well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” Professor Terry said.

“Since our first university-level agreement was signed in 2004, collaboration between UQ and UZH has grown across several discipline areas, including agriculture, psychology and mental health, neuroscience, and transnational organised crime.”

In the field of agriculture and plant sciences, UQ and UZH are part of an international team led by Professor Anna Koltunow from the Centre for Crop Science in the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) collaborating on the $29m, five-year ‘Hy-Gain for smallholders’ research project, funded in-part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The aim is to introduce sorghum and cowpea species that have significantly higher yields and are more sustainable into the world’s poorest farming communities to help improve food security, cut down on farming costs, and help farmers transition from subsistence living to farming for profit. 

Since 2012, UQ School of Law Professor Andreas Schloenhardt has collaborated with UZH researchers to develop courses in international crime and comparative criminal law, with a particular focus on human and wildlife trafficking, migrant smuggling, and illegal gambling.

Students from both UQ and UZH had the chance to travel to Switzerland and Australia to engage with foreign legal material, critically analyse legislation and policy, and offer practical recommendations for international and national legal developments.

The strategic plan also acts as a roadmap for both institutions to work together on the areas of imaging and spectroscopy, paediatric critical care, the ethics of AI and digital society and big data.

UZH is ranked 69 in the 2021 QS World University Rankings and has a strong reputation in the fields of medicine, immunology, biology, genetics, neuroscience, and economics.

Media: Dr Jessica Gallagher,, +61 435 961 173; Sally Wilson,, +61 7 3365 4746.