Australian Studies Centre - Areas of study
Australian Studies Centre

Areas of study

ASC activities will focus on several key areas of study identified as of high interest for Uruguay and Australia: agriculture, biotechnology, sustainable development, taxes, fintech, natural resources, audit, financial literacy, and research methods and data analysis.


The agricultural sectors in Uruguay and Australia share key similarities, some of them arising from being located in the Southern Hemisphere. Both crop and livestock productive systems share some features and challenges and therefore represent a potential source for collaborative research.

To cite some examples, among the challenges are the linkages between production and the environment, and the fact that exports of agricultural products from both countries compete for the same markets in Asia, Europe, and North America, with similar seasonality.

This brings opportunities for collaboration and exchange of experiences between researchers from Uruguay and Australia.


Uruguay has tremendous potential for the development of strategic areas in Biotechnology linked to animal and human health, environmental and agricultural biotechnology.

Compared to its larger neighbours, Uruguay has a smaller human capital pool and a more reduced internal market.

However, its strategic location in South America, well qualified human resources and a government agenda to boost the area, generates an environment for the systematic growth of industry and academic sectors related to Biotechnology.

In this moment of expansion, Uruguay is eager to learn from the experiences of more developed countries such as Australia.

Partnerships of academia-industry, industry-industry and academia-academia could be highly beneficial for both countries as Uruguay would access cutting-edge knowledge and technologies, Australia may be able to explore new challenges and expand its contact networks in South America, and both countries may be able to develop collaborative activities.

Sustainable development

Globalization, population growth, economic structural adjustments, and climate change are having an impact on regional and rural economies, environments and communities around the world.

Through targeted analysis and proper planning these changes can be harnessed to create new economic, social and environmental opportunities for regional/rural areas and communities, and mitigate the negative impacts.

As a key topic in Uruguay and Australia, the ASC will encourage research and collaboration in this area.


Uruguay has recently signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile and Australia has signed FTAs with India, China, Japan and Korea in the last years.

Considering that Chile already has a FTA signed with Australia, it would be interesting to understand if the Chile-Uruguay FTA opens new opportunities to Uruguayan companies to do business in Australia and Asia under a more convenient tax framework.

ORT Graduate Business School faculty linked to the Diploma and Master in Taxation programs and more specifically, to International Tax subjects will team up with Australian academics specialized in International Tax Law to study this new tax context.


In a report entitled The Future of Finance: How technology is democratizing the financial services sector, TransferWise suggests that by 2020, 47% of Australians expect to use technology companies for half of their banking needs.

Chief executive of TransferWise Taavet Hinrikus says this makes Australia one of the most ‘fintech ready’ countries in the world (Source: Independent Financial Adviser, 22/09/2016).

The new Financial Inclusion Law in Uruguay is encouraging Fintech companies to operate in the country, thus incorporating innovation and technology into the financial system.

Uruguay would clearly benefit from Australia's experience in the Fintech world. Academics and professionals from the Uruguayan banking, technology and risk areas could team up with Australian experts in Fintech and Banking to explore collaboration opportunities.

Natural resources

The ASC provides professionally independent research, analysis and advice for government and private sector decision-makers on relevant issues affecting Australia's and Uruguay’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.


Australia has a long tradition in audit quality monitoring and is a developed and transparent financial market. Uruguay, as the majority of the Latin American countries, is in the process of creating an audit quality control system to fully comply with International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)’s Statement of Member Obligation 1 (SMO 1) - Quality Assurance.

Academics and professionals from the Uruguayan Audit sector will join Australian academia and audit professionals to explore collaboration opportunities in this field.

Financial literacy

Recent developments in retirement incomes arrangements around the world mean workers and retirees are facing increasingly complex financial choices and are exposed to greater risks than before, including inflation, longevity and investment risk.

Financial literacy is not only key in helping workers and retirees navigate through their retirement, it is also crucial for helping individuals to avoid financial mistakes.

Along these lines, the Uruguayan Central Bank has recently launched a program for financial education.

However, to be able to design programs effectively, it is essential to assess the levels of financial literacy in the population so that policy makers can identify gaps and design appropriate responses.

As the OECD states “international comparisons increase the value of such an assessment by enabling countries to benchmark themselves with other countries”. Australia has been a pioneer country in measuring and designing programs for financial literacy.

A team of Uruguayan and Australian academics will investigate how the Australian experience can help Uruguay assess the financial education needs of its population, and will work together to find common methods for improving financial literacy.

Research methods and data analysis

Considering the high quality quantitative research in business done in Australia, the ASC will invite an Australian academic specialized in research methods and data analysis to conduct a training course for Uruguayan researchers.

Recursos académicos