Thapar University has got the approval to host the Fulbright programme, sponsored by the US department of state's bureau of educational and cultural affairs.
The programme provides funding for students, scholars, teachers, and professionals to undertake graduate study, advanced research and university teaching.
In the first phase of the programme, Fulbright's specialist Romesh C Batra, Clifton C Garvin professor of engineering, science and mechanics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, US, will conduct a series of lectures for graduate students of the university for four weeks at the campus.
Batra, a renowned professor for his work on the strength of materials, will conduct lectures on development in continuum mechanics and functional graded materials.
Giving an insight into the programme, Batra said that under the programme, merit-based grants for international exchange of students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists are offered.
He added that Fulbright is one of the most prestigious educational programmes worldwide, operating in over 155 countries. And nearly 43 Fulbright alumni have won Nobel prizes, including two in 2010, Peter A Diamond (Economics) and Ei-ichi Negishi (Chemistry). 78 of them have won Pulitzer prizes.
"The programme will help develop medium and long-term research collaboration between the two universities with the ultimate objective of establishing a research centre of excellence in mechanics," he said.
On his research plans at the host campus, he said, "I want to focus here on research in functional graded materials, which can help in increasing the automobiles and Jet engine's life. I am also interested in doing research on determining the age of human beings by their hair strands strength."
On the state of patents filed and received in India, Batra said, "Here, the idea of getting a patent filed is still in a state of infancy, though there is no dearth of intellectuals in the country, but awareness is still very limited."
Meanwhile, director of the university K K Raina said, "We will explore possibilities of exchange of research students between the two institutions. Conducting joint research with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will be instrumental in the development of our younger faculty working in the areas of Batra's expertise."