The Indian higher education system is set to face an unprecedented transformation over the coming decade, with tens of millions of new university places required to meet the needs of the fast growing young population. Appetite for international collaboration in education and research is very strong among the Indian institutions and their access to research funding is predicted to increase. This presents fantastic opportunities for Cardiff University to build up our institutional partnerships in the region and I have just returned from very fruitful visits, together with colleagues from the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, to four institutions: IIT Ropar, IISER Mohali, BITS Pilani and IIT Madras.
Research collaboration, development of collaborative PhD programmes, faculty visits and student mobility were on top of the agenda with all of the institutions and we have committed to undertake mappings of our faculty and research interests, with a view to developing joint proposals to schemes such as the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), the Newton Bhabha Fund, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s Split-site PhD scholarships and the Global Challenges Research Fund.
In terms of utilising our internal resources in support of developing partnerships with these institutions, IIT Ropar, for example, was very interested in hosting groups of Cardiff students on its new campus on academic led summer programmes. This is something that could be supported via our own Academic School-led mobility funding managed by the Global Opportunities team. Equally, our internal schemes for building international research collaborations, the International Collaboration Seedcorn Fund and the Incoming Visiting Fellows, are there to support academic staff and PhD students to grow these partnerships.
In building regional partnerships it is very important to for us to maintain momentum both at the academic to academic and institutional level and I am therefore delighted that our links in India will be further fostered through a forthcoming visit by a College of Biomedical and Life Sciences delegation on 4-10 December. The institutions to be revisited include IIT Ropar, IISER Mohali and BITS Pilani (Hyderabad campus), after which the delegation will also visit IIS Bangalore and iSTEM institute Bangalore.