September 2, 2016

Undergraduate research experience for Indian Institute of Technology students addresses grand challenges

Twenty-five undergraduate students from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, IIT Hyderabad and IIT Madras participated in an inaugural "Purdue Undergraduate Research Experience" (PURE) program from May 16 to July 15 at the West Lafayette campus. The nine-week program was aimed at providing an intensive research experience for undergraduate students and fostering collaborative links between academic departments and research groups at Purdue and counterparts at the IITs.  

The PURE students worked on individual projects with faculty and graduate mentors in computer science, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering. Collectively, the research projects addressed many areas of importance for both the U.S. and India, including energy, health, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure, communications and information technology. In 90-second "elevator speeches," students described both the outcomes and relevance of their projects.

In addition to providing a focused experience for the undergraduate students, the PURE program provided mentoring experiences for Purdue graduate students and opportunities for Purdue faculty to develop seed projects in new research areas.  

The PURE program built on past partnership activities with the participating Indian institutions, which have included undergraduate and graduate research and design experiences, joint workshops, bilateral sabbatical visits by faculty and collaborative research and education programs. Student recruitment and placement involved a collaborative effort between the Indian institutions and Purdue academic departments, with central coordination by Purdue's Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships.

The program is expected to enable a number of future activities, including study abroad and experiential learning opportunities for Purdue students, collaborative research programs in "grand challenge" areas and an expanded PURE program in 2017.

Source:  David Janes


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