Indian Mission: Academic conference results in increased collaborations

Feb 17th, 2016

By Jennifer Batten

Dr. Leonard Lye, right, is thanked by a representative from Amity University.
Indian Mission: Academic conference results in increased collaborations

Representatives from Memorial University’s Internationalization Office and Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science recently returned from a successful trip to India where they visited with universities keen to collaborate with Memorial.

They participated in the academic conference Confluence-2016: Global Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summit. Memorial was the only Canadian academic partner participating in the conference, which attracts delegates from all over the world every year.

During the conference, Memorial signed a memorandum of understanding with Amity University, one of India’s high-ranking universities, for the reciprocal exchange of students to develop strong connections between the two institutions. The signing ceremony marked the beginning of what is expected to be a productive relationship between the two schools.

As part of the trip, Memorial joined a mission to Gujarat, India, led by the University of Prince Edward Island. The goal of the mission was to engage in strategic business development in order to strengthen partnerships between educational institutions in Atlantic Canada and India.

While in Gujarat, Memorial met with officials and students from three universities—Nirma University, Ganpat University and Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. Sonja Knutson, director of the Internationalization Office, gave presentations at each school, showcasing Memorial as a quality destination of choice for education, training and research collaborations.

Students today have unprecedented global access to post-secondary education options and researchers and faculty have the opportunity to learn from colleagues in other parts of the world. International collaborations enable Memorial to enrich the academic experience for all and to make mutual discoveries that may not have otherwise occurred had it not been for the access and exposure to diverse approaches to research and scholarly activity.

India now represents the second largest international student market for Canada, and is a continually growing source country for international students over the past 10 years. Memorial continues to attract students from India, with steady growth of more than 10 per cent a year over the past three years.

“Despite the fact that academic institutions in the U.K. and the U.S. continue to be top of mind for Indian students, Memorial is making remarkable inroads,” said Ms. Knutson. “The number of students from India choosing to study at Memorial has been growing steadily over the past few years, and also the number of faculty members at Memorial that are developing deep collaborations with Indian partners is increasing. We are delighted to see Memorial’s profile in India growing and hope to continue to support initiatives and collaborations as they arise.”

In 2015 Memorial also secured nearly $500,000 to attract fully funded graduate students from India under the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship Program. The process of approving applicants from Indian universities to come to Memorial in fall 2016 as part of this program has begun; Ms. Knutson met several of the candidates for the scholarship while in India.

Plans are also in motion for the 2016 call for proposals to create short-term exchange programs for Memorial students and students at partnering Indian institutions to enable undergraduate students to learn from their diverse experiences and backgrounds.

Dr. Faisal Khan and Ms. Jinghua Nie represented the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science on visits to several universities in other regions of India as part of the overall mission and were met with great enthusiasm and interest. Universities visited include Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Anna University, Pondicherry University and Birla Institute of Technology and Science.

“I think our proactive approach in targeting top Indian universities has definitely given us an edge in promoting Memorial to India,” said Dr. Leonard Lye, professor and associate dean (graduate studies), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “The universities we visited were very interested in learning about our high quality programs, and students were excited about the idea of attending Memorial.”

 

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