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Birmingham comes to India

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor David Eastwood in a tête-à-tête with Pranab Ghosh points out the reason behind the University of Birmingham’s India venture

education Updated: Sep 09, 2009 09:20 IST
Pranab Pranab Ghosh

How many students go to study in the University of Birmingham every year and what are their preferred subjects?
Every year around 150 students from India go to the University of Birmingham in the UK, with a majority opting for postgraduate studies. Around 15 students do PhD. Subjects that attract students include business studies, engineering, computer science and social sciences. This year we celebrate 100 years of our association with India. In 1909, we welcomed our first students from India to study for degrees in mining and in commerce.

Why are various international universities looking at India?
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and as such this is an exciting time for us and we believe that our excellence in teaching and research can support both education and industry in India. Our presence in India is not solely focused on recruiting students but on building partnerships with Indian institutions, developing research collaborations that tackle important issues for India and to support our alumni community across the Indian subcontinent.

What are the ongoing collaborations that the university has in India?
Birmingham has a number of exciting research collaborations with several institutions across India. The University has partnered with the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies to look at how faith communities and faith-based organisations have engaged with post-conflict situations in Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

The University’s Automotive Safety Centre is working with IIT Delhi to explore ways of reducing road traffic accidents in India.

The University’s office in New Delhi, our first overseas office, marks a new step in the University’s relationship with India.

What will the University offer? And how is it different from what others are offering?
The University is a member of the Russell Group - an association of 20 major research-intensive universities in the UK. The Univer- sity is committed to developing graduates who are academically able and possess many of the additional skills that employers value in a competitive employment market. We have several schemes to encourage entrepreneurship. The range and quality of our research ensures that we address many of the key challenges that we face in the 21st century. We are internationally recognised for our research in heart disease, obesity, hydrogen fuel technology and neuroscience.

In what way will it benefit the Indian education sector?
We will reach out to institutional partners to support the work of individual scholars and research groups, ensuring that the maximum impact is gained from their collaborative efforts. The issues we face today – health issues, climate change, and conflict resolution – require colleges and universities collaborating across international boundaries. Birmingham was a founding member, in 1997, of Universitas 21 — one of the leading networks of international universities; University of Delhi joined this group recently. U21 is tackling some of the big global issues in research.

How is it going to help Indian students who might not be able to afford a UK?
We have some international scholarships to encourage students to study at Birmingham.

However, we also believe that choosing to study in Birmingham is an excellent investment, which will provide students from India a world-class education and a degree that will be valued anywhere.But we are also keen to explore opportunities of delivering some of our courses in India, to make it easier and more affordable for those students who are not able to study at our Edgbaston campus.