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IITs to share expertise with Finland

Finland is actively involved in setting up a joint IT hub in Otaniemi with the support of Indian Institutes of Technology and National Institutes of Technology

education Updated: May 07, 2014 10:21 IST
Vandana Ramnani

In an attempt to take the Indo-Finnish education cooperation a step further, Finland is planning to set up an IT hub in its Aalto University campus with the help of the IITs in Bombay, Gandhinagar and Roorkee and the NITs in Jaipur and Rourkela to facilitate further cooperation and staff mobility. Plans are also afoot to pattern a similar Finnish ventures in India. These efforts are being supported by the Finnish ministry of education and culture and the Indian ministry of human resources development.

An IIT delegation visited Finland and took part in the Finnish-Indian higher education cooperation seminar in September 2013 at Aalto University. Last month, a delegation from Aalto University and other Finnish universities visited IIT Bombay and made further commitments for deepened cooperation in the fields of research, higher education, design, innovation and entrepreneurship, reveals Krista Kiuru, minister of education and communication of Finland.

Elaborating on the plans, Mari-Anna Suurmunne, head of international relations, Aalto University, says the Indian MHRD delegation that visited Aalto University in September included three directors from the IITs and two from NITs. The institute hosted IITs in Bombay, Gandhinagar, Roorkee and NITs from Jaipur and Rourkela. Amita Sharma, additional secretary from MHRD led the delegation.

“The overall goal of the visit was to explore possibilities for enhanced cooperation both between IITs and Finnish universities at large and from our perspective, between Aalto and the IITs – a possibility to establish an IIT hub for Otaniemi was discussed, but it was agreed that we will first seek to intensify collaboration between our institutions and revisit the issue later if the established collaboration would support such a development,” she explains.

In early April, a delegation of 14 from Aalto University visited IIT Bombay for a two-day seminar. Workshops were organised on themes such as health, design, management, energy, mathematics and construction and potential for further academic collaboration was estimated to be very good by both sides. Towards that end, IITs have suggested a consortium agreement between IITs and Finnish universities, especially to support research cooperation and academic and student mobility, she says.

The Finnish ministry of education and culture will organise the so-called Second India Round Table where work on a consortium agreement, will begin, she says. “We hope to have an agreement ready next fall, so we can revisit the issue as things proceed. We have discussed student and staff mobility as well as forms of research collaboration as topics to aim for. We will only start the drafting after the second round table. The number of institutes involved is still open at least for the Finnish side, “she adds.