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Robust partnership

Robust partnership

Abhiraj Ganguli |

Given the fact that campuses across the country, from New Delhi to Hyderabad, are seething over issues both complex and far-reaching in nature, the halcyon days of educational autonomy seem to have been firmly relegated to a remote past. And yet, as much of the media din portrays a fractured landscape, education in India is robust and students from these parts experience appreciation in colleges and universities abroad.

Continuing with its 15-year-long relationship, Newcastle University in the UK recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, to collaborate on a range of subject areas and staff and student exchanges. Richard Davies, pro-vice-chancellor, engagement and internationalisation, Newcastle University, and professor of geo-energy, was in India and explained the finer points of the tie-up. Excerpts from an interview:

What prompted Newcastle University to settle on IIT, Delhi, over others of its kind?

Newcastle University has a longstanding relationship with IIT, Delhi, that goes back 15 years. Established initially with our department of civil engineering, this relationship has grown to cover research potential across both science agriculture and engineering faculty, and humanities and social sciences faculty. We are exploring potential for research collaboration with our third faculty, medical sciences.

What are the highlights of the tie-up? For how long will the MoU be in effect?

The highlights of the tie-up are collaborative research in the areas of cyber security, antibiotic resistance, quality and innovation and knowledge transfer on anti-pollution. During this visit, we explored research potential with the water group at IIT, Delhi, in water remediation and flooding. We also explored research potential with the Bharti School of Telecommunication in areas of smart grid technology and telecommunications. Our existing MoU with IIT, Delhi, was reaffirmed in a declaration jointly signed in May 2015 at Newcastle University.

How will the mobility of staff and students between Newcastle University and IIT, Delhi, work?

The MoU includes a commitment to explore areas such as biotechnology and nanotechnology and the development of staff and student exchanges and joint PhD supervision. We are also developing short internships and collaborative student projects. We have agreed to extend our Global Experience Opportunities programme, including regional internships and case study competitions in Newcastle, to IIT, Delhi, students.

Is collaboration limited to research or will it also happen at the undergraduate and  postgraduate  levels

Newcastle University and IIT, Delhi, have mutually agreed to explore financial support for the costs of staff and student exchanges in identified research areas to further enhance our collaborative partnership.

What are the primary subject areas in which research collaboration will take place? 

As mentioned, the areas of research are cyber security, antibiotic resistance, quality and innovation and knowledge transfer on anti-pollution and water. With the IIT, Delhi, Management School the areas of collaboration discussed are operations management and supply chain, particularly lean healthcare systems; corporate finance and corporate governance — a comparison of UK and India; information systems in management, including E-business; human resources management — gender and diversity in strategic management; and knowledge and technology transfer

What are the unique qualities Indian students bring to the table?

Indian students are the best of the best. Their work ethic and dedication are unparalleled.