Deakin leads the way in India with research initiative

9 October 2009

The Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI) was formally launched in India last week by the Hon. Jacinta Allan MP, the Victorian Minister for Regional and Rural Development and Minister for Skills and Workforce Participation.

DIRI builds on Deakin University's world-leading expertise in materials sciences, nanotechnology and biotechnology and on Deakin's research partnerships with some of India's leading companies, research institutes and universities.

Deakin University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Walker, said that DIRI demonstrates the importance Deakin places on partnerships.

"Deakin is very committed to developing effective research partnerships. In Australia these partnerships have been with industry and government; these partnerships have contributed to Deakin's culture of research innovation," Professor Walker said.

"I am very pleased to say the Deakin India Research Initiative takes this model of partnerships to a whole new level. We will be collaborating with Indian companies, research institutions and universities to train PhD students in India who are ready to take on the challenges of the future."

Through DIRI, PhD students will be enrolled at Deakin, but will conduct much of their research in India. The students will have both Australian and Indian supervisors and will spend approximately six months in Australia working with their Deakin supervisors on critical experiments or gaining a broader, international understanding of their field of research.

Deakin's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Lee Astheimer, recently visited India to meet many of Deakin's partners in DIRI.

"I was extremely impressed with the facilities and research being undertaken at many of the places I visited," Professor Astheimer said. "Companies such as VIMTA Labs are increasingly working globally. They have identified a shortage of PhD graduates who want to work with industry in India; they see this as a significant barrier to the future Indian expansion of frontier technologies like biotech.

"By the end of this year we will have at least 20 PhD students enrolled through DIRI, with significantly more in 2010. There is a strong emphasis, so far, on biotechnology, nanotechnology and materials science, but I am sure that this will expand into a whole range of discipline areas where Deakin has strength and where there is keen interest and need in India."

Deakin's Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor Peter Hodgson, has been one of the prime movers in the creation of DIRI. Professor Hodgson says that the launch of DIRI is the culmination of many trips to India by Deakin researchers and representatives.

"This is not an overnight thing, but something built on over 30 visits to India," Professor Hodgson said.

"Those visits have all been aimed at ensuring the projects between our University and the partners in India will make the difference we are so proud of at Deakin.

"It really is a win-win for Deakin, the Indian partner and the students."


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Rebecca Tucker
Media and Corporate Communications
03 5227 8568, 0418 979 134
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