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‘Our race car aerodynamics course is unique’

The University of Southampton is keen to attract students from India, who are already very enthused about its one-year Master’s courses, in which the sustainability energy course is very popular reports Pranab Ghosh

education Updated: Aug 25, 2010 12:26 IST
Pranab Ghosh
Pranab Ghosh
Hindustan Times

Dr Alan Chambers, a senior lecturer and undergraduate admissions tutor at the University of Southampton’s School of Engineering Sciences (SES) recently came to India.

What are the courses offered by University of Southampton’s School of Engineering Sciences?
At undergraduate level these are mechanical engineering, aeronautical and astronautical engineering and ship science. At postgraduate (one year Masters- MSc), we do sustainable energies, advanced mechanical engineering systems, racecar aerodynamics and computational fluid dynamics.

We offer PhD programmes across all our research groups.

Which of these courses is most sought after by Indian students and why?
In our undergraduate programmes, 25 per cent students are international – normally they come from over 20 different countries. This is great because we have a diverse multicultural cohort with no one country really dominating. This year, for the first time, India will be the largest provider with some 15 students. They are split equally between mechanical and aero engineering. Applications for undergraduate courses from India doubled this year. For one-year Master’s, India is probably the largest provider. The sustainable energy programme is growing very rapidly and is our biggest course.

How many Indian students are there in the SES and how many, on average, enroll every year?
About 15 undergraduate students; the same at postgraduate level. I have no figure for PhD; but India is strong.

What are you doing to attract more Indian students to the university?
I visit twice a year, including once with the Sterling Group. We have a marketing group and have targeted India, Middle East and southeast Asia as priority areas.

What kind of collaboration/tie-ups do you have with Indian institutes? Are you looking forward to more such programmes?
We have MoUs with all IITs and some other universities including Annamalai. We are trying to develop active research through joint PhDs with IIT Madras and Annamalai. Southampton is funding visits to Southampton for staff from both universities specifically to explore this. Yes, we are looking forward to many more such collaborations/ contact programmes.

What are your future plans? Would you, in the near future, start a campus in India?
It is an interesting idea but probably no. It is almost certain that we will open an engineering campus in Malaysia. This is a major investment. India opening up probably came too late for us.

Tell us something about your MSc course in race car aerodynamics?
We think it is unique. We have over 50 years of working with F1 mainly because of our wind tunnels. Adrian Newey, chief designer, Red Bull F1 is a Southampton Aero graduate. It is a specialist course and we accept only 20 students to give the graduates a chance of a job in the industry. The skills taught apply to all other high performance transport design.

First Published: Aug 25, 2010 12:22 IST