1 February 2018

As Australia and India cultivate closer ties, The University of Queensland and one of India’s premier institutes of learning and research have struck a strategic partnership.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj visited Delhi in January to endorse the research and education agreement with The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-Delhi) and to hold talks on a joint research venture.

“I believe we can combine UQ and IIT-Delhi’s complementary strengths and find solutions to the biggest challenges of our time,” Professor Høj said.

Professor M. Balakrishnan, IIT-Delhi’s Deputy Director (Strategy & Planning), said the UQ collaboration was a key initiative in enhancing the Institute’s international visibility and in attracting global talent.

Professor Høj said the agreement was the first step in what both parties hoped would be a comprehensive strategic partnership, including the development of a joint college or academy to support joint PhD scholars.

“From the outset, the focus will be on problems that need to be solved,” Professor Høj said.

“This research partnership will benefit students, and it will add value to researchers, industry, our institutions, and our countries.”

About 500 Indian nationals, including more than 100 PhD candidates, studied at UQ in 2017, and about 80 UQ academic staff members were born in India.

“With such strong people-to-people links, it’s no surprise that our research collaborations are growing,” Professor Høj said.

“UQ researchers have co-authored 486 publications with Indian institutions since 2012 and we are collaborating on many fronts including a $2.2 million research project we are undertaking with the Schizophrenia Research Foundation of India.”

Professor Høj said UQ had been awarded more than $5.8 million from the Australian Government’s Australia-India Strategic Research Fund for work with Indian institutions in agriculture, food and water security, biotechnology, vaccine development, IT and optoelectronics.

“One great example of that work is research by UQ Fellow Dr Ebinazar Namdas, in conjunction with the CSIRO, on semiconductor-based technology that offers a safer, greener alternative to kerosene lamps which are still commonly used in parts of India,” Professor Høj said.

The UQ and IIT-Delhi agreement follows last year’s Australian economic mission to India, led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and attended by UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj.

After the visit, the Australian Government announced it would commission an independent India Economic Strategy to strengthen economic collaboration between the two nations while identifying new ways to do business together.

The Government has appointed Mr Varghese – a former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a former High Commissioner to India – to lead the strategy.

He has been charged with cementing India as one of Australia’s priority economic partners and identifying how Australia’s experience could support India’s economic reform agenda and modernisation.

India is Australia's fifth largest export market and its 10th largest trading partner.

Contact: Dr Jess Gallagher, UQ Global Engagement, j.gallagher@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 7869.