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Engineering sci-lateral ties

US and India have entered their most significant engineering partnership since the 1960s, reports Neha Mehta.

india Updated: Mar 05, 2006 03:54 IST
Neha Mehta

America and India have entered their most significant engineering partnership since the 1960s, when a consortium of nine American universities helped set up IIT Kanpur.

Away from the glare of US President George W Bush’s visit, 25 top American engineers met 32 Indian counterparts here for the first Indo-US Frontiers of Engineering (FOE) meet, organised by the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and IIT-K. The Indo-American Science and Technology Forum will award $50,000 to two joint projects conceptualised at the meet in the frontier areas of nanotechnology, wireless technology, natural disaster simulation and mitigation, and the interface of biology and medicine.

America has such bilateral engineering partnerships with only two other nations — Germany and Japan. Last year, India joined Germany, UK, Japan and China in having a Frontiers of Science programme with the US National Academy of Sciences.

The FOE meet brought together engineers and scientists from the IITs, IISc, NCBS, MIT, Harvard, GE and University of California, among others. Most participants were under 45 and hailed as the “faces of tomorrow’s technologies”. It also marked the first time that an NRI — MIT professor Subra Suresh, one of the few Indians nominated to the NAE — served as the US co-chair of an FOE.

NAE president WA Wulf described the IIT graduates he interacted with as “well-trained, highly motivated and possessing an excellent work ethic”.

Says Sanjay Dhande, director, IIT-K, “The FOE is the start of a trajectory of research collaborations between India and America, which will be very important for both the nations in the coming decade.” The Indo-US FOE delegation will meet President APJ Abdul Kalam on Sunday. The FOE projects will be announced shortly, and will be reviewed in 2008.