Stronger research ties: University of Birmingham launches India Institute
To strengthen its 100-year-old relationship with India, the University of Birmingham has launched an India Institute (UBII), which will aim for impactful engagement with the country. The centre will also create greater awareness of India in the Midlands and the UK, and focus on building of academic, cultural and business ties with the country. A fellowship scheme will also be announced soon by the institute.
UBII will focus on academic research and scholarship, teaching and postgraduate research, policy analysis and debate; collaboration with corporate partners; and public engagement in culture.
On a fellowship scheme to be announced by UBII, professor Robin Mason, the university’s pro-vice-chancellor (international) said “the scheme will support the visits of researchers to and from India, to spend a period of time at Indian institutions or at the University of Birmingham to help the development of research projects, applications for external grants, joint publications, and business and policy engagement.
Present at the institute’s launch on Monday were the university’s vice-chancellor, prof Sir David Eastwood and high commissioner of India Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha. “Our India Institute marks an important milestone in our long-standing relationship with India and re-affirms the University of Birmingham’s deep and strong commitment to engagement with the country,” Eastwood said at the launch.
“From reducing the impact of refrigerated food distribution chains, to helping make India’s cities more sustainable cities, our researchers are forging links with their counterparts that will change millions of lives for the better,” he added.
Sinha also participated in a round table discussion with Indian-born University of Birmingham chancellor Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea. The discussion was chaired by professor Mason.
Highlighting the bond between the university and India and his personal experiences, Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea said the links stretch“back to the arrival of our first Indian student in 1909. For me, this is also a personal bond as my mother and my maternal grandfather both studied at the University of Birmingham. I am the third generation of my family to have grown up in India and been educated at a British university, and it makes me very proud to see that Birmingham has put its century-long bond with India even further with the launch of the University of Birmingham India Institute.”
Lord Bilimoria also added that he looked forward to deepening relations between the university and partners in India, in education, business and government over the coming years as “our new India Institute fosters research and teaching collaborations which benefit both countries. Education and research are a central part of the bond between the UK, which has some of the best universities in the world, and India a global emerging economic superpower, which has some of the oldest.”
The university’s relationship with India began in 1909 with the first cohort of Indian students travelling to Birmingham to study for degrees in mining and commerce. Since then, the university has provided education to around 2,000 Indian alumni.