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Georgia eyes Hyderabad

Atlanta is home to prestigious universities. India may be this academic giant's alternate chapter, writes Meeta Chaitanya.

india Updated: Mar 06, 2006 11:55 IST

Atlanta is home to one of the most prestigious universities in the States -- The Georgia Institute of Technology.

What's better? India may be this academic giant's alternate chapter.

As news about the university exploring the possibility of expanding its operational base to Hyderabad, spreads; the local Indian community's excitement about such an initiative is commensurate only with our satisfaction at the astounding results achieved by Indian-American students on-site, across America.

Georgia Institute of Technology is amongst America's top ranking research universities. It is renowned for its commitment to applying advanced science and technology to human betterment.

Known as Georgia Tech locally, this university's campus in metro Atlanta occupies nearly 400 acres and has more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Leading newspapers have been abuzz with reports of a forthcoming visit from a team of Georgia Tech visiting Hyderabad in March to pursue a proposal for the opening up of a campus in Andhra Pradesh.

It is believed that the University is looking at a 100 acre facility for this said campus.

Reportedly, the thrust springs from the fact that almost 40 per cent of GA Tech's students are of Indian origin, and therefore the conclusion is that students in India may benefit from and bring advantage to the University's international chapter; if indeed this were to be initiated.

The accredited University (SACS) has been consistent in its ranking among US News & World Report's top ten public universities in the US and offers many globally recognised technology-based programmes.

It is slated no 9 overall but remains the leader in the industrial engineering programme. The institute offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as also professional education opportunities in its colleges as College of Architecture, Engineering, Management, and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts.

Georgia Tech prides itself for both innovative teaching and advanced research as also facilitator of a thriving intellectual ambience.

No wonder the university received more than $355 million in research awards in 2005.

Although the setting up of a physical campus in India will be a first for this academic mammoth, it has an existing, palpable international presence including Georgia Tech Lorraine (satellite campus in Metz, France) and programmes in Paris, Singapore, and Sydney.

Discussions on keeping the prospective Indian campus free of reservations are sure to be entered upon and should this proposal fructify, chances are it will attract the domineering pool of engineering capital not only from Andhra Pradesh but also from other countries.

Around the same time that this news started doing the rounds, an equally important study on India and China continuing to be major beneficiaries of R&D expansion over the next few years hit newsprint.

The study, conducted by Marie Thursby, professor of strategic management at, you guessed it, Georgia Tech, along with Jerry Thursby, professor and chair of economics at Emory University (also Atlanta-based) showed that the quality of research personnel available in countries such as ours and opportunities for university collaboration herein are often key factors.

"While costs are higher in the United States, these economies still have a comparative advantage in R and D because of the high caliber of their scientists," said Marie Thursby according to a report published earlier by this paper.

Needless to say, the role of university collaboration is imperative in corporate decisions. Suchlike findings are likely to skew many other Universities for advanced learning towards India in the foreseeable future.

In fact, this concurrent theme of expanding academic horizons to India in addition to knowledge outsourcing was effectively explored last year in December when President Abdul Kalam launched the Indo-US University Network in New Delhi.

American universities clearly saw the potential of seamless education (with primary focus on engineering education), and research cooperation, so much so that nearly two dozen universities joined with several Indian institutions in this initiative.

By December, premier American universities joined the initiative, including University of California Office of the President, UCSD, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and, Georgia Tech.

Around the same time, Microsoft chairman and founder Bill Gates announced plans to invest $1.7 billion in R&D in India.

MS, as one of the companies funding this university initiative, clearly saw enhanced engineering education as a viable and mutually beneficial operative between India and the US.

So, while one hopes this latest report of Georgia Tech's India interest meets with eventual success, IT enabled endeavors are already underway to bridge furthermore, the academic gap between the two nations.

For now, we can take pride in the fact that Indian intelligentsia's success is being recognised steadily and readily by those we recognise as world leaders in knowledge technology.