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Posted: August 4, 2009
Plans for new Indian-Australian Research Academy released
(Nanowerk News) Architects have unveiled the first glimpse of plans for the A$10 million collaboration between research giants Monash University and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IITB).
The two internationally-respected institutions have joined forces to create the IITB-Monash Research Academy, which will train a new era of researchers focused on solving some of the major issues confronting society and industry in both nations.
The four-level purpose-built Academy will be located on IITB's Mumbai campus and is expected to be ready for occupation early in 2011.
IITB-Monash Research Academy
Officials today released plans for the new building, which will utilise state-of-the-art research collaboration technology.
Acting CEO Professor Mohan Krishnamoorthy said the Research Academy was a unique venture in which some of India's best and brightest young minds undertook joint PhD research in both India and Australia.
"The new building will be equipped with extremely sophisticated communication technology and video-conferencing facilities. It will consist of nine laboratories, offices, and workstations for 350 researchers," Professor Krishnamoorthy said.
The contemporary-style building, designed by architects Venkatraman and Associates, will feature a spacious porch, an elevated plinth and corridors that overlook a central courtyard. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year.
While planning and construction continues, teaching and research has already begun. The Academy has just welcomed its second batch of PhD students, bringing the total number of researchers to 36.
Professor Krishnamoorthy said there was strong demand for entry to the academy. An astounding 1500 applications were received in the June 2009 intake. Twenty-two researchers were finally selected. It's hoped the academy will support 350 research projects by 2015.
The first intake of students, who began last year, are well into their research projects.
The Research Academy builds on the combined strengths of Monash University and IITB. It aims to create a community of academics and students engaged in finding solutions for complex problems in government, industry and the research community in Australia, India and the rest of the world.
The Research Academy was formally opened in November last year. Research projects centre around six major themes: computational science and engineering, infrastructure engineering, biotechnology and stem cell research, clean energy, water and nanotechnology.
These themes address future research and development challenges of industry sectors including petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, automotive, infrastructure, biotechnology, life sciences, IT and financial markets.
Students have a supervisor in both institutions, must study in both Australia and India and receive a dual PhD from Monash University in Melbourne and IITB in Mumbai.
The Academy is a not-for-profit, autonomous institution with an independent Governing Board and a high-powered Advisory Council, which includes captains of industry and research luminaries.
Mr Narayana Murthy (former CEO and chief mentor at Infosys) is the chairman. Other members include Dr Ramesh Mashelkar (former director-general CSIR), Dr Pawan Goenka (managing director Mahindra and Mahindra), Mr Prasad Menon (managing director Tata Power), Dr V Rao Aiyagiri (Department of Science and Technology), Sir Gus Nossal (former president of the Australian Academy of Sciences), and Dr Swati Piramal (director Piramal Healthcare).
The vice-chancellor of Monash University and the director of IITB are ex-officio members of the Advisory Council.