Collaboration the key to solving grand challenges

Monash Chancellor Dr Alan Finkel, one of the speakers on the panel

Monash Chancellor Dr Alan Finkel

Prominent Australian and Indian researchers have emphasised the importance of collaboration across disciplines, national borders and with industry, to meet global challenges.

The panel discussion, Australia and India: Grand Challenges - Shared Perspectives, held at Monash University’s Clayton campus last night featured University leaders and visiting professors from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) and the IITB-Monash Research Academy.

Monash University's Chancellor Dr Alan Finkel, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Edwina Cornish, and Dean of Engineering, Professor Tam Sridhar were joined by Professor Subhasis Chaudhuri, Dean of International Relations, IIT Bombay on the panel.

Professor Mohan Krishnamoorthy, CEO of the IITB-Monash Research Academy - a unique research partnership between Monash and IITB - acted as moderator.

Centred on how research can address grand challenges such as meeting the needs of growing populations and protecting the environment, the discussion addressed what these challenges mean in both the Australian and Indian research environments and the need to encourage productivity and innovation.

Professor Chaudhuri said The Academy presented an exciting opportunity to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations to meet global challenges.

“Although Australia and India have different demographic profiles, the problems are essentially the same. Access to clean water, energy sufficiency, infrastructure development, access to information and knowledge, and inclusive innovation remain key challenges for the 21st Century," Professor Chaudhuri said. 

"The IITB-Monash partnership enables us to address these challenges while partnering with industry to also train large numbers of students.” 

This year will see the first jointly-badged PhD completions in the program. The 80 students currently enrolled spend time at both the IITB campus in Mumbai and at Monash campuses, and also with industry partners. 

Dr Finkel said The Academy was creating the research leaders of tomorrow.

“The thing that I find personally exciting about what’s happening with the IITB-Monash Research Academy is that we’re investing in giving the opportunity to brilliant students to get input from two continents, leading institutions and industry on solving real-world problems."