Lassonde School deepens partnerships with India’s top educators and researchers

MOU signing with Janusz Kozinski featured image

Representatives from the Lassonde School of Engineering recently embarked on a multi-city research mission to India that included visits to some of the country’s most prestigious universities.

A delegation led by the school’s Founding Dean Janusz Kozinski and the school’s top professors travelled to India for 10 days in November to develop new relationships, finalize research partnerships and promote the school to prospective international students.

Lassonde School of Engineering Founding Dean Janusz Kozinski, centre, signs a memorandum of understanding with delegates from some of India's top research universities
Lassonde School of Engineering Founding Dean Janusz Kozinski, centre, signs an agreement with delegates from some of India’s top research universities

The tour included visits to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, Amity University, IIT Roorkee, IIT Bombay, Anna University, IIT Bhubaneswar, Indian Institute of Science, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Indian Statistical Institute Kolkata and IIT Kharagpur.

“The Lassonde School of Engineering already has very good relationships with Indian institutions including top universities, government and industry that we have established over the past three years,” said Kozinski. “Rather than just signing more documents, this latest mission was designed to implement projects and ensure our partnerships produce real practical outcomes.”

The partnerships between the Lassonde School of Engineering and a variety of institutions in India are built around three elements: academic programs, research priorities and joint projects with industry. The academic partnerships are focused around geomatics engineering and computer science programs. A new initiative launched during this latest mission called “2+2” will soon see students from both India and Canada completed their four-year degrees by spending two years in each country.

 Janusz Kozinski
Janusz Kozinski

The strategy behind the research partnerships with India is based around selecting specific priorities where there are shared interests and then investing heavily in those, rather trying to spread the school’s efforts too thin, says Kozinski. The school – through partnerships with several Indian universities and with the government agency Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) – has identified renewable energy and space technology as the top priorities where there is world-class expertise on both sides.

In addition, there will be collaborative projects relating to water security led by Lassonde Professor Sushanta Mitra who is the school’s chair of mechanical engineering. Mitra, a former professor at IIT Bombay, is the associate scientific director and the theme lead in Integrated Water Management for IC-IMPACTS – the Canada-India Research Centre of Excellence.

Finally, industrial partnerships are being created between the Lassonde School of Engineering and companies such as Grintex and IIC Technologies that have investments in both India and Canada. This will include opportunities for Lassonde students to spend their co-op placements overseas in India.

“Working with Indian academics and researchers is highly stimulating. They are not afraid of not knowing answers, as they know they can find answers by working with others. This is the kind of entrepreneurial and creative atmosphere we hope to replicate in our joint projects as we work together to find solutions to our greatest shared challenges,” said Kozinski.

Sushantra Mitra
Sushantra Mitra

During the visit, Kozinski and Mitra took part in the high-level Canada-India Business Council Forum in Mumbai. Kozinski moderated a panel on education where experts discussed bilateral and faculty exchanges, facilitating mobility for students in professional programs such as engineering and new business models for strengthening the Canada-India Knowledge Corridor.

Mitra was one of only 300 invited guests to the Commonwealth Science Conference in Bangalore organized under the aegis of the Royal Society and supported by the Government of India. The conference celebrated excellence in Commonwealth science; provided opportunities for cooperation between researchers in different Commonwealth countries; inspired young scientists; and built scientific capacity in the developing nations within the Commonwealth.

“It is a great privilege to be asked to take part in this very exciting new gathering of global leaders to look at our shared values so that we can expand cooperation between Commonwealth nations in the fields of science and engineering,” said Mitra.“We will be examining how technology is driving change in our societies and how it can used to help improve the lives of citizens within our countries – including Canada and India.”

Read more about the mission, including videos and pictures on the Lassonde Research Mission to India webpage.