AFR award for Deakin India Research Initiative

Research news
17 September 2019

A unique India-based program that supports innovative, industry-led research – and enables PhD students to continue their research while working – has received the 2019 Australian Financial Review (AFR) Higher Education Award for International Education.

An initiative of Deakin University, the Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI) was one of three Deakin projects to receive awards at the ceremony in Brisbane on August 27, with Deakin receiving the most awards on the night.

Presented by UniSuper, the awards aim to highlight at a national level the contribution the Higher Education Sector makes to Australian prosperity and quality of life, and to international education.

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said Deakin's wins and shortlisting across four award categories was wonderful recognition of the depth of talent and innovation in its researchers and education programs.

"DIRI supports PhD students in India while they work in the private sector, helping them to extend their research capability and promoting collaboration with industry," Professor Martin said.

"I warmly congratulate all of Deakin's award winners and nominees. Their work is truly world and industry-leading and shows great promise for addressing current and future challenges."

Deakin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Alfred Deakin Professor Julie Owens said the award was the culmination of 25 years of Deakin's strong commitment and engagement with India in India.

"DIRI’s partnership model was developed to meet the requirements of Indian industry and academia," Professor Owens said. "DIRI plays a key role in advancing research areas of strategic importance to both countries.

"With the establishment of the Deakin South Asia office 25 years ago, Deakin became the first international university to open an office in Delhi, India. With over 100 students engaged in research training so far through DIRI, this represents an on-going investment of AU$15 million and more by Deakin and our partners."

Some of Deakin’s DIRI In-Country partners include: IIT Madras, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, GE Technology Centre, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, Biocon, Reliance Institute of Life Sciences, Indian School of Business, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and many others.

Ms Ravneet Pawha, CEO, Deakin South Asia and Deputy Vice President - Global Engagement, added that Deakin is recognised as the leader in International Education in India, working across education, training, research, industry and Government partnerships.

"Since it was launched in 2009, more than 100 students have been engaged in research projects through DIRI, with over 20 strategic partners across industry and academia," said Ms Pawha.

"Our South Asia team of 60-plus staff has now established a presence beyond India, in Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and Mauritius."

DIRI operates out of the South Asia office of Deakin University in New Delhi and is responsible for supporting Collaborative Research Programs and Higher Degrees by Research for students largely based out of India and jointly supervised by an Australian (Deakin) and an Indian Supervisor.

The program is an upskilling tool for staff, allowing employees to remain actively engaged with the company during their PhD. It also encourages staff retention, as well as protecting intellectual property by the party that originates the idea.

The DIRI program provides all candidates with a full tuition fee waiver (valued at AU$120,000) for a period of four years. It also provides AU$14,000 in travel and living costs for candidates to visit Deakin in Australia for a period of up to six months, where they can access the specialist facilities and expertise on campus. DIRI students also receive AU$1000 towards the costs of presenting their research at an international conference.

By Deakin Research

For all media enquiries please contact Deakin’s media team.

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