Indiana University, ranked amongst the top universities in United States of America will set up a gateway centre in India to facilitate student and faculty exchange. The university will decide on its plan to set up a campus in India only after gaining some experience in India. In a chat with Manu Balachandran, Michael. A. McRobbie, President of Indiana University talks about the university’s plans for India.
What are your plans for India?
We are expanding our international engagement and are now building partnerships across universities in the world. We have established our first gateway office in the world in India. The gateway facility will be used for recruitment of students, fund raising events, academic programs and short term workshops. We hope it will be fully operational in May and now we are looking to set up one in Beijing soon.
How has your association in India been so far?
We have had a very good relationship with OP Jindal University since they were set up. We will visit Delhi University soon and we have had some discussions in the past that could lead to a possibility of a larger relationship. We also have a good working relationship with IIM Lucknow. With Delhi University, we are looking to develop have more student and faculty exchanges and opportunity for joint research.
As Chairman of Internet2, do you see Indian researchers also being brought into the network?
Internet2 is a consortium of about 200 research universities in the US that collaborate in building applications for high speed networks and which also operate and manages the most advanced high speed educational research networks in the world. We have held workshops with India’s National knowledge network which is establishing some very high speed connections from its network to the internet2 to build one seamless global fabric between India and US to help research across science, humanities and social sciences because every research uses high speed networks. All the researchers who are connected to the national knowledge network will be part of it. We have identified $500 million of funded research collaboration between Indian researchers and US across various arrays and that level of collaborations.
How many researchers or research institutes from India will be part of this network?
We documented in excess of 400 research projects that are funded greater than $100000 and every one of those involve some researchers and private corporations. They are able to connect at lower speed today and the national network, which is a new initiative, has been for the last 3 years building high speed networks over the Indian universities. We will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National network and Internet2.
The government is looking to allow foreign universities to set up campuses in India. Are you keen?
Setting up of a campus is a big investment and involves a lot of risks especially if governments change laws. The gateway facility will help us to gain experience in India and depending on how that works, it will enable us to take future decisions. But for that, the required law also needs to be put in place.
What are the areas in India that you see huge potential in India?
Liberal art is a great focus area for us and the areas that we are now seeing big are business, informatics and environment management. Over the last five years, students coming from India have gone up by more than 35 per cent and we have in excess of 1000 students now. The gateways in India and China are crucial for Indiana since both are dynamic and rapidly growing economies.