Fulfilling Alfred Deakin's vision – building the research bonds with India
Deakin University continues to strengthen its research, educational and corporate links with India following a recent visit to the sub-continent by Professors Andrew Parratt and Peter Hodgson.
"I met with a wide range of Indian companies and institutions," said Professor Hodgson, Deakin's first Federation Fellow.
"These included Tata Motors, Tata Steel, the Steel Authority of India, the National Metals Laboratory and the Indira Ghandi Centre for Atomic Research.
"All were interested in setting up research collaborations with Deakin and a number of MoUs are being finalised.
"The mixed nature of these collaborations reflects well on what Deakin can offer India, a country that is hungry to grow its technological capabilities through partnering with the best.
"There was interest at one level in our PhD model. At another level, industry and government wanted to tap into the research excellence in metals and other advanced materials we have already achieved at Deakin."
Professor Parratt said the Deakin research model was widely recognised in India as the way to produce the "job-ready" post-graduates needed to meet the challenges of one of the world's fastest growing economies.
"We have been able to sign up a number of PhD students who are very keen to be involved in our industry-based, cross disciplinary approach to research," Professor Parratt said.
"India recognises that when we talk at Deakin about undertaking research that makes a difference, that addresses and solves every day problems, we mean it. "
Ms Ravneet Pawha, Deakin's Director in India, said visits like those of Professors Hodgson and Parratt were just one reason corporations, government bodies and researchers enjoyed working with the university.
"Deakin is regarded in India as one of the top research institutions in Australia," she said.
"It is also seen as a university with a long-term interest in India.
"Deakin was the first university from anywhere in the world to set up an office in India. We did that in New Delhi 10 years ago.
"Since then, high-ranked Deakin administrators and researchers, including our Vice Chancellor, Professor Sally Walker, have visited the country.
"Professor Hodgson has made more than 20 trips over the past few years, reinforcing the fact that the relationship between Deakin and India is a reciprocal one."
That word reciprocal has a profound, historical ring to it.
In 1893 Alfred Deakin wrote in his book, Irrigated India, that it was inevitable that Australia and India would develop reciprocal partnerships in a wide range of activities.
"It is fitting that the University named after Australia's second Prime Minister should be playing a leading role in helping fulfil that vision when it comes to education and world class research," Professor Parratt said.
"There are many benefits to Deakin from these genuinely reciprocal partnerships, not the least the setting up by Satyam, India's second largest IT company, of a testing, educational and research centre on the Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds.
"This will result in the creation of 2000 jobs in regional Victoria while at the same time allowing Satyam to continue is massive global expansion activities.
"There are also exciting potential export opportunities for Australian business from having talented young Indian researchers come and obtain their post-graduate qualifications at Deakin while working in their industry.
"When they return home, the become a conduit for Australian ideas and Australian exports into the booming Indian market."
Hear Professor Peter Hodgson on Radio Australia talking about Deakin's links with India: