King's College London and Monash University in Melbourne have signed an agreement that will give the largest university in Australia its first base in Britain. It will also give King's access to Monash's Australian and Malaysian campuses.
Under the deal, Monash will pay King's Pounds 70,000 a year over the next ten years. It will have its own centre located in refurbished offices at King's campus on The Strand, close to Australia House and the Australia Centre.
King's College will join Monash's offshore campus in Kuala Lumpur as a major destination for Australia-based students who wish to complete part of their course overseas. King's also plans to arrange for its students to have ready access to Monash courses in Australia and Malaysia.
The agreement will boost the capacity of two strong institutions to recruit students and attract research funding from countries on both sides of the globe and enhance opportunities for academic collaboration.
In a related development, the Sir Robert Menzies Centre for Australian Studies - currently part of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London - will transfer to King's College.
The Menzies Centre is funded by the Australian government, the Menzies Foundation, the Menzies Trust (UK) and a number of universities including Monash.
In its May budget, the Australian government allocated Aus$5 million (Pounds 2 million) to the Menzies Centre and a further Aus$5 million to the Australian centre at Georgetown University in Washington, with which Monash is also connected and where it has endowed a chair.
The principal of King's College, Arthur Lucas - himself a former Australian academic - said he was delighted to have Monash's presence at King's.
"Monash will complement the activities of the already thriving Menzies Centre and we look forward to interactions in teaching, learning and research to our mutual benefit," Professor Lucas said.
Monash vice-chancellor David Robinson said the new centre at King's would become the focus of the university's activities in the United Kingdom and in Europe. He said the centre would probably open next January and would be the size of a "small campus" within five years, with up to 3,000 students.
As with the Malaysian campus, Professor Robinson said the London centre would be a key component of the university's strategy to provide teaching, learning and research opportunities for its students and staff around the world. The centre will have its own offices, rooms and teaching facilities, while staff and students will receive preferential access to the college's teaching facilities.
The agreement was formally endorsed by the governing bodies of each institution this month after being signed by Professor Robinson and Professor Lucas.
Monash enrols 45,000 students on seven campuses. Under a newly released strategy for the next 20 years, it plans to establish a global network of campuses and "strategic alliances" to give it a significant presence in Western and Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and South and North America.