The memoranda of understanding with Rice and Southhampton universities will be signed at the international vice-chancellors’ conclave on Wednesday.
The most significant tie-up will be the one with Monash University Research Academy, which will set up an IITB-Monash Research Academy at the institute’s Powai campus. While the initial agreement for the joint venture—to be signed on Thursday— will be signed for a period of five years, both institutes plan for a long-term association. The focus areas will include engineering, science and information technology, water, mining, automotive, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals among others. “There are around 200 different projects and each institute has expertise in some field or the other. IIT-B has also shown a keen interest in joint research in stem cells with Monash,” said university Vice-Chancellor and President Richard Larkins.
Larkins said that at any given time the academy would like to enroll 200 to 300 PhD students who will get a joint degree. “Monash, which has committed to invest 10 million Australian dollars for a five-year period, wants the academy to eventually become self-supporting,” said Larkins.
While the Australian government has already agreed to give certain funds for the academy, the “Indian government is also favourable to provide funds for infrastructure and scholarships”, said professor Pradipta Banerji, convener of the conference.
He said that while the construction of the building will start this year, the first meeting of the advisory council will be held on January 17.
The MoU with Rice University will facilitate exchange of students and research activities, said D W Leebron, Rice University President,
He said that the “agreement will enable the university students to come to IIT-B, get credits and then return and vice-versa”. Leebron said the institute would like to have 15-25 students for the exchange programme “but it will take some time to get there”.
The broad areas to be covered include nanotechnology, computer science and engineering and civil and environmental engineering. “Mumbai is a coastal city like Houston and through the association, we can deal with problems like flooding, pollution etc,” Leebron said.
While the MoU with University of Cambridge will be in the areas of nanosceinece and nanotechnology, the tie-up with Southhampton will give a fillip to the existing activities between the two institutes. “We would like to solve larger societal problems,” said Southampton University vice-chancellor W A Wakeham.