The Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, on Monday signed pacts with top French universities and research centres.
The memoranda of understanding were signed after a meeting between HRD minister Kapil Sibal and French higher education and research minister Valerie Pecresse, who is accompanying President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Sibal and Pecresse discussed increasing cooperation in education and research, particularly in nanotechnology, biotechnology, weather prediction, aerospace engineering and advanced math. India and France are undergoing similar higher education reforms principally aimed at improving access and quality.
The IISc will set up an international laboratory on water sciences jointly with the Institut de Recherche Pour le Developpement (IRPD) in France. The jointly set-up research laboratory can strike partnerships with other research institutions in India, France or any other country, under the MoU signed between the IISc and the IRPD.
The seven older IITs signed an MoU with Paris Institute of Science and Technology (ParisTech) on promoting student and institutional exchanges and joint research. The MoU with ParisTech is also aimed at giving the IITs an opening into European Union education programmes and initiatives.
Officials also discussed progress on France’s proposal — announced during Sarkozy’s 2008 visit — to help set up the new IIT in Rajasthan.
The proposal involves the creation of a consortium of French higher educational institutions that will academically and scientifically aid the IIT coming up in Jodhpur, in areas where France is a leader.