Purdue, India forge stronger ties during Daniels trip

November 14, 2014  

Daniels Mumbai

Purdue President Mitch Daniels, at right, meets with Purdue alumni during an event in Mumbai. (Photo contributed)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University delegation led by President Mitch Daniels strengthened the university's relationship with India during a trip there the week of Nov. 2-7.

"It was a very successful trip and I'm excited by all that we were able to accomplish," Daniels said. "I am convinced there are many excellent opportunities for us to engage in university, alumni, government and industry partnerships there."

Daniels signed a partnership agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, a research university in Chennai, India, that enables joint supervision of doctoral candidates between the two institutions. The agreement builds on an existing memorandum of understanding.

While in India, Daniels announced a Purdue Alumni Network in that country during an alumni event in Mumbai. Also during the trip, Daniels unveiled the annual India-Purdue Collaborative Lecture Series, with the inaugural lecture slated for January 2015, and met with several university, corporate, and corporate partners.

Daniels India

Purdue President Mitch Daniels, from left, Bhaskar Ramamurthi, professor and director of IIT Madras, and professor R. Nagarajan sign a partnership agreement that enables joint supervision of doctoral candidates between the two institutions. The agreement builds on an existing memorandum of understanding. (Photo contributed) 
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Accompanying Daniels were Suresh Garimella, Purdue executive vice president for research and partnerships, and Mary Dennis, vice president for international alumni programs of the Purdue Alumni Association.

The Purdue delegation also met with Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Naidu asked Purdue to explore ways it can help enhance the higher-education landscape in the state.

The agreement with IIT Madras involves processes for Purdue faculty to co-advise doctoral students at IIT Madras and for IIT Madras faculty to co-advise Ph.D. students at Purdue.

"This will help foster international experiences for students at the two universities, with student visits to the other university as well as having a co-adviser from another country," Daniels said. "From a faculty standpoint, co-supervision of students will allow researchers at the two universities to define joint projects and identify new areas of research that address problems of global interest. This visit has strengthened an already robust collaborative relationship between our two institutions."

The memorandum of understanding was signed earlier this year to "strengthen and expand mutual contacts and collaborative educational opportunities." It covers Purdue's colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Pharmacy, Science, Technology, Veterinary Medicine and the Krannert School of Management.

Daniels said the memorandum could eventually lead to a joint degree program in which students can receive a Ph.D. degree from both Purdue and IIT Madras simultaneously.

The goals of the alumni network in India include establishment of a country-wide network, including clubs in major cities with regular meetings; a quarterly electronic newsletter with updates from Purdue as well as news, events and profiles of Purdue alumni in India; participation within the respective local communities and Indian businesses; opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing; and continued aid and assistance for Purdue's initiatives in India.

A number of alumni and business leaders also offered to host Purdue students on industrial internships at their expense. Garimella said such internships would create increased opportunities to help reach the goal of ensuring that each Purdue student has a research or industrial internship, or an immersive experience overseas, before they graduate.

Garimella said the India-Purdue Collaborative Lecture Series is a partnership with Purdue alumnus and international policy leader Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra (C.N.R.) Rao, who is chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to India's prime minister and recently received India's highest honor, the Bharat Ratna. He received his doctorate in chemistry from Purdue in 1958 and an honorary degree from Purdue in 1982 and served as a visiting professor from 1967-68 and in 1982.

The series will highlight distinguished faculty in areas of interest for advancing science and technology in India, Garimella said.

"It celebrates Purdue's longstanding links to India as well as current partnerships in research, education and commercialization," he said. "Purdue alumni in India are leaders in industry, academia and government, and many next-generation Indian scientists, engineers and business leaders are currently studying at Purdue. Purdue is developing partnerships with peer institutions in India, including research collaborations in areas of national and global importance, education initiatives and commercialization programs.

"The lecture series will allow alumni, partner institutions, and students and friends to learn about areas of excellence at Purdue. It also will allow Purdue to connect more strongly with alumni and partner institutions and to become more engaged in addressing grand challenges for India and the world."

The inaugural lecture and moderated discussion is planned for January 2015 in Bengaluru and Chennai. "Measuring Molecules: Mass Spectrometers in Science, Medicine and Business" will be presented by Rao and R. Graham Cooks, the Henry B. Hass Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue.

Close to 1,500 students from India are currently enrolled at Purdue, and thousands of Purdue alumni currently live in India. The university has the second-largest international student population among U.S. public universities and is third overall, according to the Institute of International Education in 2013-14. India has the second-highest number of international students at Purdue.

Purdue currently has several partnerships involving engineering, agriculture, business, science, technology, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, liberal arts and technology with institutions in India. In addition to IIT Madras, the organizations include Punjab Agricultural University, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Patna University's Centre for Water Resources Studies, Birla Institute of Technology, B.S. Abdur Rahman University, Indian Institute of Management, and Satyam Computer Services Limited.

Purdue also has student exchange programs with the Birla Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Technology. Purdue sponsors the GEARE program in Bombay. 

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu 

Sources: Mitch Daniels, president@purdue.edu

Suresh Garimella, sureshg@purdue.edu 

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