January 24, 2017

Purdue selected to partner with India’s Science and Engineering Research Board

Garimella_Serbmou R. Brakaspathy, secretary of India’s SERB, and Suresh Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, on Tuesday (Jan. 24) signed a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions. (Purdue University photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University is among a select group of U.S. institutions to enter into a partnership agreement with India’s Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), the country’s equivalent to the U.S. National Science Foundation.

On Tuesday (Jan. 24) a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in support of international academic cooperation between the two institutions was signed in New Delhi. Suresh Garimella, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and R. Brakaspathy, secretary of India’s SERB, signed the agreement. The MOU lays the groundwork for Indian government support for visiting doctoral student research programs and for the creation of virtual research centers between Indian institutions of higher education and Purdue.

“This new partnership with SERB will not only catalyze existing research partnerships between Purdue and some of the leading institutions in India, but will also open new doors for our faculty and students to tackle research topics together with their Indian peers that will have a lasting impact,” Garimella said.

The agreement with SERB will specifically deepen research linkages between Purdue and institutions in India, including the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH), with which Purdue already has formal strategic partnership agreements.

Zika_research Doctoral student Devika Sirohi works with Michael Rossmann and Richard Kuhn at Purdue to reveal the structure of the Zika virus. (Purdue University photo) Download image

As a first step, the Indian government will, annually, provide full financial support to up to 20 visiting Ph.D. students who will spend one year at Purdue as visiting scholars working with a faculty member on a research topic of mutual interest. In addition, Purdue and SERB will explore opportunities to cooperate together on virtual research centers to promote collaborative research around specific themes such as affordable and sustainable energy systems, water and hydrology, cybersecurity, future cities, transportation, nanotechnology and electronic devices, infectious diseases, neuroscience, and global health.

“Enabling the exchange of ideas among faculty and students in India with counterparts at Purdue benefits all of us as we seek answers to some of the world’s most complex issues,” Brakaspathy said. “We are very optimistic about the success of this agreement given the multiple research partnership activities currently in progress between Purdue and Indian institutions. India is eager to increase such research efforts with Purdue University.”

Designated as a country of strategic importance for Purdue, coordinated campus-wide engagement efforts designed to strengthen ties with India in a number of key areas have been underway since 2014. They include bilateral academic mobility, deeper engagement with alumni, institutional and programmatic partnerships, and government and corporate partnerships.

The SERB agreement is an important addition to the many ongoing partnership activities between India and Purdue.

Purdue has academic and research linkages in India involving engineering, agriculture, business, science, technology, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, liberal arts and technology with more than 75 institutions in India.

Thousands of Purdue alumni live in India, many of whom are actively involved in the Purdue Alumni India (PAI) network. In 2015 Purdue President Mitch Daniels launched the India Executive Council, a high-level advisory board to the university, on its strategic engagement with India. Annually, Purdue promotes the India-Purdue Collaborative Lecture Series in partnership with professor Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra (C.N.R.) Rao, former chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to India's prime minister, who received his doctorate in chemistry from Purdue in 1958. The 2017 series on cybersecurity will run from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3 in New Delhi and Bangalore, featuring Purdue professor of computer science Eugene Spafford.

Purdue has a growing number of Indian corporate partners. In 2015 Purdue signed a strategic partnership memorandum of understanding with Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd., with headquarters in Hyderabad, India, to strengthen pharmaceutical research and development. Dr. Reddy's Laboratories is a global pharmaceutical company that makes products across major therapeutic areas, offering more than 200 generic versions of medicines in 26 countries.

Purdue Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) is a program launched by Purdue in 2016 that provides an intensive nine-week research experience for Indian undergraduate students and fosters collaborative links between academic departments and research groups at Purdue and counterparts at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT Hyderabad and IIT Madras.

Purdue has the largest enrollment of Indian undergraduate students of any U.S. college or university, with 881 students enrolled in fall 2016. In addition, 1,017 Indian graduate and professional students attend Purdue and 120 faculty are of Indian origin. Purdue is the No. 1 STEM school for international students, with 7,111 international students in STEM fields, according to a 2015 U.S. government report from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

Contact: Brian Zink, 765-494-2080, bzink@purdue.edu

Source: Suresh Garimella, sureshg@purdue.edu

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