Top Australian universities are coming to India in search of high quality research students. Deakin University, one of the top Australian universities with campuses in Melbourne and Geelong cities in the Victoria state, has started a unique programme - Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI)

If “below average” students are reaching Australia for cookery and hair styling courses with an eye on Permanent Residency (PR) status, top Australian universities are coming to India in search of high quality research students and institutions for tie-ups for joint promotion of research activities.

Joint research

Deakin University, one of the top Australian universities with campuses in Melbourne and Geelong cities in the Victoria state, has started a unique programme - Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI) that promotes joint research of common interest in association with top Indian educational institutions and industries involved in research.

The DIRI was officially launched in Hyderabad by Jacinta Allen, the Victorian Minister for Skills and Workforce Participation. She said the launch of DIRI has re-enforced the strong links between India, the Australian state of Victoria and Deakin University.

Interestingly, Deakin was the first university from anywhere in the world to set up an office in India, she said.

“By the end of this year we will have at least 20 Ph.D 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 this will expand into a whole range of discipline areas where Deakin has strength and where there is keen interest and need in India,” said Deakin’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Lee Astheimer.

Deakin’s DIRI model involves developing research partnerships around Ph.D projects involving industry, universities and research institutions.

The Ph. students spend the majority of their time based working with the Indian partner with typically a six-month stay in Australia for critical experiments and writing.

Each student has a Deakin and an Indian supervisor. Importantly, their research thesis is examined at the same high international standards as all of Deakin’s Ph.Ds. Intellectual property, publication and funding are covered through detailed project agreements.

‘It really is a win-win for Deakin, the Indian partner and the students,” said Peter Hodgson, Deakin University’s Australian Laureate Fellow and a prime mover in the creation of DIRI.

Funding

The university is committing direct funding of at least $3 million to DIRI with significant in-kind support.

Deakin University has been a leader in Australia in developing research models that bridge the gap between academia and industry.

Discussions with organisations in India have highlighted how bridging this gap is a major issue to enable the rapid increase in manufacturing and knowledge industries needed for growing India’s economy.

Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Central Universities and top research institutions of the country are a part of DIRI.