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Swati Saxena

Senior Science and Innovation Adviser

Part of Global Science and Innovation Network

26th March 2014 New Delhi, India

A day at IIT Kanpur

The EU road show which is an information campaign involving member states delivering information seminars across India is in full swing. As a speaker in this road show, I was fortunate to enjoy the magnificent campus and hospitality of one of India’s premium engineering institutes, the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) which is one of the first five IITs established by the Government of India. The institute I remember is associated with introducing education in computer science in India, way back in 1963!IIT Kanpur 1

It was a privilege to inform a medley audience of students and faculty members from the institute about the thriving research partnership between UK and India. It was heartening to note an enthused interest from the students and researchers in pursuing their higher studies or research collaborations in UK.

Professor Indranil Manna, Director in an exclusive interaction with the speakers informed us that the institute boasts of some unique facilities including a national wind tunnel facility, flight testing and helicopter laboratories and their very own private airstrip with four powered aircrafts and gliders!

At the moment the institute has around 25 projects with European countries. I recall that IITK was part of one of the Research Council UK’s three Science Bridge Awards with Government of India, BioPharm 2020. The institute has also been part of joint projects as supported under initiatives including UKIERI and IUATC .Professor Manna informed us that IITK would like to have more visiting foreign faculty as well as overseas students for joint PhDs as well as summer internships. The areas of interests include industrial waste management, organic photovoltaic- organic solar cells, unmanned air vehicles and aerosols. IIT Kanpur in fact is partnering with UK on a joint project on photovoltaics as jointly supported by EPSRC, UK and Department of Science and Technology from India. IIT Kanpur 2

The Director informed us about extensive plans to establish a well rounded ecosystem to promote translational research. Besides working with Boeing on numerous projects, the impressive range of partners from whom IITK gets challenging research projects with commercial end use include Government departments like Indian Railways, Department of Space, Department of Atomic Energy, Road Transport and public sector undertakings including Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bharat Heavy Electronics Limited.

I could see a lot of areas that could be worth exploring for joint partnerships with IITK, an institute which is held in high esteem not only in India but also globally.

About Swati Saxena

Swati is a Senior Science and Innovation Adviser, based in New Delhi. She provides a dedicated support to the UK stakeholders in establishing R&D linkages with India, particularly in research…

Swati is a Senior Science and Innovation Adviser, based in New Delhi. She provides a dedicated support to the UK stakeholders in establishing R&D linkages with India, particularly in research related to food production. She brings strong expertise in agricultural research to the role. Prior to joining the Science and Innovation India team, Swati actively engaged with Indian Government agencies and academics involved in agri-research while working as a regulatory officer for Monsanto, a US-based agricultural multinational firm. She was part of the core group that enabled commercialisation of India’s first genetically modified crop. By building long-term relationships across the government and academics with contacts ranging from the senior policymakers to high calibre scientists with a strong track record in their fields, Swati is well-placed to act as a facilitator to build the technology linkages. Swati has an academic background in genetics.

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