An Indian-Australian partnership
26 November 2008
Monash seemed to have trouble at first breaking into the Chinese market, but in India the University’s ambitions bore fruit quickly. In 2006, Vice-Chancellor Richard Larkins embarked on a journey of discovery to India. Joining him, along with Science Dean Rob Norris and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Edwina Cornish, was Engineering Dean Professor Tam Sridhar, himself an expatriate Indian who came to Monash as a PhD student in 1974. Visiting his homeland, Professor Sridhar noticed how much had changed. Many large international companies had moved their research and development labs to India, but Australia (and Monash) was not channeling these opportunities.
The Monash delegation met with the heads of India’s main scientific organisations and the minister for science and technology, who welcomed the University’s interest. From these conversations, a bold plan emerged to establish a joint research academy between Monash and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) in Mumbai. The Academy’s aim is to attract the most talented graduates to complete PhD and post-doctoral work in scientific and technological fields. Students and research staff focus primarily on problems of biotechnology, computational engineering, nanotechnology, clean energy and clean water. Government and industry partnerships are at the forefront of these endeavours. Monash’s new venture was not a fully-fledged campus mirroring those at home, but rather a partnership that works with local research expertise and industry to create an Academy that takes the best from both Monash and IITB.