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A new Centre to be established by Deakin University and TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute of India) will tackle some of the major issues confronting mankind - food and water security and health care.
Deakin University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sally Walker, and the Executive Director of India’s TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute of India), Dr Leena Srivastava, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between their two institutions in April to establish the new BioNanotechnology Research Centre in New Delhi.
The signing took place in the presence of India’s Minister for Education, Shri Kapil Sibal, and the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, as part of Minister Sibal’s diplomatic visit to Australia.
Researchers in Deakin University’s Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (ITRI) bring to the Centre excellence and expertise in the design and characterisation of novel nanomaterials while TERI researchers in the Biotechnology and Management of Bioresources Division (BMBD) bring a wealth of experience in biotech applications in pharmacology, food, agriculture and environmental areas.
It is envisaged that, within five years, the Centre will have approximately 70 researchers, including 50 PhD students enrolled at Deakin and co-supervised by Deakin and TERI staff.
The Centre will be located at one of TERI’s facilities close to the Indira Ghandi International Airport allowing easy access for international visitors. The Centre will be a hub for the Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI) launched last year. This involves up to a further 50 PhD students located in Indian industries or with other research partners again co-supervised by leading researchers in India and Australia.
Dr Alok Adholeya, Director of TERI’s BMB Division and nominated as Director of the new Centre, is extremely enthusiastic about the collaboration having worked with Deakin University researchers for several years.
Dr Adholeya said the partnership between the two organisations was particularly timely given TERI’s mission to work towards the challenges that mankind is going to face in future.
“Our new BioNanotechnology Centre has great potential to make significant contributions to solving critical problems shared by India and Australia,” he said.
“It is imperative to adopt new emerging technologies to meet challenges like health care, water and food security head-on.”
Professor Peter Hodgson, Director of Deakin University’s ITRI and Australian Laureate Fellow agreed.
“The combination of biotech with nanotechnology will be transformative for materials science,” he said.
“It is an incredibly exciting area and a great privilege to be working with a prestigious and innovative research institute like TERI that is dedicated to effective and sustainable solutions.”
Professor Walker said Deakin University’s activities in India continue to grow and now encompass partnerships in relation to teaching, research and industry training.
“Research partnerships of the kind exemplified by the BioNanotechnology Research Centre provide a tangible example of Deakin’s objective to work in partnership with India on mutually beneficial programs,” she said.
“The launch of the TERI-Deakin BioNanotechnology Research Centre takes this partnership with India to a higher level.”