Deakin University, Australia, in association with TERI - The Energy and Resources Institute organised a three days symposium entitled 'DIRI Symposium 2011 - 'Frontiers in Science' @ Deakin Nanobiotech Centre at Gual Pahari, Gurgaon. The symposium brought together eminent researchers from Deakin University and its Research Partners across India at a common platform to discuss ongoing research and strategies for future collaborations.
The symposium was organised under the aegis of DIRI - The Deakin India Research Initiative which was instigated in 2009 as an expansion of Deakin University's ongoing development of research models to bridge the gap between academia and industry. Since its inception, Deakin has formed research partnerships with some of India's leading companies, research institutes and universities such as TERI, Biocon, CCMB, Evolva, Vimta Labs, Indian Oil, Shankar Nethralaya and many others. Under the DIRI model, higher degree by research (HDR) candidates is based at an Indian research institution with day-to-day supervision provided by a local researcher. A Deakin academic staff member serves as principal supervisor for the project. A visit to Australia by the candidate for a period of approximately six months to conduct research is an important component of the scheme.
The symposium saw extensive participation from 35 Research scholars from Deakin's Indian partners and 25 Supervisors both from India and Australia. The underlying theme of the symposium was Nanosciences and Biosciences. The symposium was inaugurated by Professor Lee Astheimer, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Deakin University, Professor Peter Hodgson, Director Institute for Technology Research and Innovation, Deakin University and Dr. Alok Adholeya, Director, TERI Deakin Nano Bio Centre and Director Biotechnology and Biomedical Resources, TERI. The keynote address was delivered by Dr. R. R. Sinha who is Scientist G and the Advisor, DBT.
The symposium also saw two engaging cultural evenings by the research students and professional Rajasthani folk artists. Prof David Lowe, Director Alfred Deakin Research Institute, addressed the gathering on 'Australia's atomic past, and possible future'. He talked about how in Australia, and in other parts of the world, there is a growing realisation that some of the biggest problems that the mankind faces, whether climate change, managing renewable and non-renewable forms of energy, or Environmental degradation, require collaborations between the physical and social sciences in ways that have policy impact.
Dr. Alok Adholeya, Director, Biotechnology and Management of Bioresources Division, TERI and the Director of the Teri-Deakin Nanobiotech Centre stated, "A professionally rich event like this contributes towards multidisciplinary knowledge generation in each participant's planning whether it is youth or experienced researchers. Such an agenda has made the event most communicative and contributory towards furthering science and innovation."
The symposium concluded on a high note when Professor Peter Hodgson shared how this has been a journey over many years combining both a personal and university passion to establish long term, lasting partnerships that make a real difference for both countries. Professor Hodgson also said, "This conference was a highlight of my career. Seeing not only young people passionate about their research but also such a wonderful relaxed atmosphere between leading Professors from both countries and these young minds is to me why we do research. Research is not just about facts and figures but about passion and the desire to make a difference, no matter what field it is in."
Notes to Editor
About TERI-Deakin Nanobiotech Centre
TERI-Deakin Nanobiotech centre is a unique and the only facility that is being set up in India to carry out leading edge Nano-Bio research in Agriculture and Health. An investment of over AUS $ 8 million jointly by TERI and Deakin is now taking shape with 12 students and 5 faculty members from TERI and approximately 7 academics from Deakin currently undertaking up to 10 extremely challenging and exciting projects. While the research has already begun the infrastructure is continually developing with a number of major pieces of equipment to be installed by the end of January 2012.