Photo: Imperial College London website.
Imperial College London and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore have launched an ambitious partnership in research and education.
The agreement will see two of the world’s leading institutes launch a research and education seed fund that will lay the foundations for future joint research projects in a range of scientific areas and support new innovations in education.
It will also mean greater collaboration on research projects in a wide range of scientific areas and increased mobility of academics and students between the two institutes.
Imperial was recently ranked sixth best university in the world by the QS World University Rankings for 2023, and IISc emerged as the top institute in India.
The new partnership will lead to closer collaboration between Imperial and IISc and the Imperial-IISc Innovative Research and Education Fund, which is now open for applications from teams at both institutes, will kick-start early-stage, risky and ‘blue skies’ research ideas and education collaboration.
The Fund will be used by teams at Imperial and IISc to support exploratory research, small-scale experiments or the development of prototypes, workshops and hackathons, and will enable researchers and students to spend time at each institute.
The two universities will also explore creating a student exchange programme to enable students at both institutions to broaden their networks and experience.
Imperial’s Vice President (International) Professor Maggie Dallman said: “This ambitious partnership brings together two of the world’s leading universities to make a significant impact in research, innovation and education.
“Imperial has collaborated with the Indian Institute of Science for decades and there is now a great opportunity to build upon this success and work together more closely.
“India is an incredibly exciting place for research, education and innovation, and I am sure that Imperial and IISc will be at the fore of supporting and forging UK-India partnerships in the coming decade.”
Prof Praveen Kumar, Chair of the Office of International Relations, IISc, said: “The newly commenced programme will provide a fresh impetus to the several decades-long partnership between IISc and Imperial. It is an example of the natural partnership that has been developing between Indian and UK universities. As the disruptions brought by COVID-19 are getting eased, I am sure that the researchers at both institutions would be excited about this programme.”
Academics from Imperial and IISc have long-standing collaborations in areas such as engineering and life sciences.
Dr Ana Mijic, from Imperial’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been appointed a Satish Dhawan Visiting Chair Professorship at IISc Bangalore for 2022.
Dr Mijic has collaborated with IISc for a decade, focusing on water systems and modelling. Dr Mijic will spend time at IISc later in the year to work with a team in India on an integrated water system model which could be used for water planning and management in the region.
The model considers aspects such as rainfall-runoff processes in cities and catchments, simulating flow and water quality to asses impacts of land use change, agricultural practices and water infrastructure. It could be used by water companies, local authorities and governments to improve water management and urban planning.
Dr Mijic said: “The level of research coming from IISc is world leading and there is a lot of value in generating ideas and developing research projects together that fit their local context. IISc makes an ideal partner because they are very strong in physical sciences, have good technical expertise and have access to a good local network of stakeholders. There is a huge opportunity for both partners to learn from each other and share data and knowledge.”
Prof Sandhya S Visweswariah, Professor at the Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics (MRDG), IISc, has been collaborating with researchers in the Centre for Molecular Bacteriology and Infection (CMBI) in Imperial College for more than five years, largely supported by a Collaborative Grant for Research Professors with Prof Gad Frankel, funded by the Royal Society. Prof Visweswariah said: “My frequent visits have led to the establishment of additional collaborations with other faculty in CMBI. Our interactions have resulted in a joint symposium in CMBI where faculty from IISc were supported to travel to the College and deliver lectures.
"Further, researchers from Imperial have visited IISc and again participated in collaborative discussions and seminars. Imperial College is a very vibrant place, with excellent scientists, students, and post-doctoral fellows. I certainly hope that long-term associations continue between IISc and Imperial College in the years to come.”
Academics from Imperial's Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment are also involved in wind energy resources research with colleagues at the Divecha Centre for Climate Change, based at the IISc.
Imperial and India
Imperial and India have strengthening links in research and education. In the last five years, Imperial academics have published 1,230 research papers with more than 300 Indian partner institutions.
Imperial also has more than 500 Indian students enrolled at the College and a growing Indian alumni community of more than 3,000 people.
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This article was first published on 20 July by Imperial College London.