Indian Institutions and University of Birmingham: Prof David Eastwood

University of Birmingham has a programme to collaborate with Indian T-Schools and other institutions of higher learning and provide science and technological training in research. Indian researchers can visit Birmingham as part of this venture for 6 months and learn cutting edge technological knowhow there. An interaction with Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice Chancellor, University of Birmingham.

Can you briefly give an overview of how the University of Birmingham visualises its collaboration with the Indian institutions, especially in the field of Science and Technology?

Our relationship with India goes back to 1907 when Indian students came to study at Birmingham. We have collaborations with Indian universities and several industrial houses in India. We are using science and technologies to address the social and economic problems in India, such as cleaning water, air etc.

We are using cutting edge science to treat drinking water. We are training Indian graduates to use the technology of today that we have developed in Birmingham and develop it in the Indian context. Our team is here to field study in Rajasthan in the coming days and we’ll have a workshop in March.

DQ: Especially in Science and Technology, the IT sector is now growing. But we still don’t have many women in the IT industry. Do you have any programme to help the women grow in the field of IT sector?

David Eastwood: Yes we do. We have a programme through which the women researchers from the Indian institutes can come and study and do research at Birmingham for 6 months in the field of IT. Especially in recent times we have had 4 or 5 women academics coming to Birmingham and do their research there. Our programme is open to everyone, but we’re particularly focusing on women. We are also trying to collaborate with departments of Science and Technology and see if more opportunities for women can be created. Actually 80% of the fellowships last year went to the Indian women scientists.

DQ: How has the response been from the Indian institutions to collaborate with you?

David Eastwood: We are collaborating with a large number of institutions. We have a project with IIT Delhi. We are also studying the women in Punjab and comparing them to the Punjabi women in UK to understand the development of Cancer among them. A good number of these projects have gained external funding. But we also supplement these funds with our own internal resources and fellowships.

We are also working with the various government departments to provide technological assistance in the various government projects of developments.

DQ: Do you have any centres in the Indian institutions?

David Eastwood: We work more in the research partnerships and invite Indian researchers to Birmingham. Currently we don’t have any Indian centres. What we have found works better is to bring researchers to the UK for a short term on a fellowship.  We help the Indian institutions with research and technological expertise so that they can deliver the research projects by using our technological knowhow and the Indian researchers can establish themselves by using this training.

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