In a bid to enhance the quality of life in Chandigarh,
Birmingham and the wider world, experts from Chandigarh's Punjab University
(PU) and the University of Birmingham have started a brilliant
"India is a very important partner-country for the University of
Birmingham as our researchers continue to foster strong partnerships across the
globe. As a civic university in the 21st century, our responsibilities include
contributing to enriching the life of our home city and the wider world," Robin
Mason, University of Birmingham Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International), revealed
in an interview.
A two-day workshop was conducted earlier this week in Chandigarh and New Delhi
which saw experts from the two universities coming together to develop joint
research projects around a range of themes – including microbiology/ infection/
antimicrobial resistance and sustainable cities. Mason added that the projects will
benefit from both Indian and British expertise.
"We were keen to find ways of working with partners in India -- drawing on
both Indian and British expertise, to benefit the people of both countries --
to lay the foundations for joint research that could help to solve major
problems facing both countries," he said.
December 2015 saw the signing of the agreement, after which several months were
spent on exchange visits for identifying areas of cooperation between the two
"In parallel to the exchange visits, Birmingham researchers had been
working with (PU-led) Chandigarh Region Innovation and Knowledge Cluster
(CRIKC) in areas including public health and women's cancer, advanced manufacturing,
cyber security, and transportation to tackle common challenges," Mason revealed.
"We had also joined our colleagues at the University of Nottingham in
seeking ways to work with partners in India to find common solutions to shared
problems and map out a research pathway for future development," he said.
An agreement to discuss closer cooperation between CRIKC and the Universities
of Birmingham and Nottingham is also being considered by "developing
practical ways of making our partnership even stronger and more
effective", Mason said.
In 2012, CRIKC was conceived so that individuals and institutions could enhance
their performance levels by forging inter-institutional collaboration and
sharing resources and facilities. It aimed to help Chandigarh institutions
compete with the best nationally and gain recognition which would in turn
attract corporate participation in higher education.
"The British Council initiative to promote collaboration between CRIKC
institutions and UK universities, particularly in the Midlands region, has
enabled us to learn best practices at international level," CRIKC chair
and PU Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover said.
Answering to whether the project is time-bound or open-ended, Mason said,
"While specific research projects may be of fixed duration, we look
forward to developing a long and productive partnership that draws on both
Indian and British expertise to benefit the people of both our countries."
"We are open to opportunities for academic collaboration across India,
although we expect the partnership with Panjab University and CRIKC to be a
particularly important one," Mason commented on the idea of starting
similar initiatives with other institutions in India.
The main objective of this effort was that research outcomes should prove
beneficial to people in both UK and India.