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University launches new India Centre for Growth and Sustainable Development

Published: 13 March 2019
India Day
The Deputy High Commissioner to the UK His Excellency Mr Charanjeet Singh attended the opening

Former Chief Justice of India, Mr Dipak Misra becomes patron of the University’s new India Centre.

The University of Southampton has launched its new India Centre for Growth and Sustainable Development, aiming for it to become a globally recognised think-tank for innovation and knowledge sharing. The centre will underpin existing excellence in research, education and enterprise, and be driven by common goals, shared values and partnerships between Southampton and India.

The launch took place during a day special of events celebrating the University’s strong partnerships with Indian industry, education institutions and students. The Deputy Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Mr Charanjeet Singh was among the special guests and gave a speech on the opportunities and challenges for India’s higher education system in a global context.

Former Chief Justice of India, Mr Dipak Misra will join a board of Patrons for the centre that also includes former Government Minister Lord Patel of Bradford. As patrons, they will provide strategic advice to the centre’s leaders, participate in key events to support its influence and raise its profile in India.

Speaking ahead of the launch, His Excellency Mr Charanjeet Singh said: “I would like to congratulate the University of Southampton on taking this positive step to build even stronger ties between our two countries.

“The University is at the forefront of research collaborations between the UK and India, and our historic cultural links are demonstrated by the number of talented students from India who come to study in this University. 

“This new development will provide even greater opportunities for the University to grow its work in India as we jointly seek to solve global challenges such as climate change, healthcare and an ageing population.

“I wish the India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development every success.”

The India Centre will bring together a mix of expertise and engage experts and stakeholders from around the globe. It will focus on a set of core themes in the areas related to policy change, inclusive economic growth, technology and sustainable development.

It will serve as a platform to building on the strong relationships the University of Southampton already has in India. Among the many examples of collaboration is the work of Professor Caroline Fall from the University’s Faculty of Medicine with doctors and researchers across India to study maternal nutrition and health in order to reduce type 2 diabetes and heart disease in Indian children. Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences’ Professor Robert Nicholls and Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences’ Professor Craig Hutton have also worked closely with Jadhavpur University and the National Remote Sensing Agency in India on a multimillion pound project to address the impact of climate change on displacement and migration in the delta regions of Indian Bengal, Bangladesh and Ghana. And University of Southampton Alumnus Aniket Singh, who now works for Apple in California, has established an internship scheme at the University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science so other students in India have the chance to follow in his footsteps.

President and Vice Chancellor (Interim) of the University of Southampton, Mark Spearing said: “The University of Southampton has a proud history of welcoming students from India and working in partnership with Indian academic institutions and businesses. The India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development is an exciting new chapter in this long standing friendship and we are honoured that Dipak Misra and Lord Patel will be patrons. This will give us fantastic opportunities to work even more closely with decision makers and industry partners in India, ensuring we can play our part in helping India achieve its sustainable development goals so that everyone can prosper from its powerful economy.”

Amarjit Singh, Special Advisor for India to University of Southampton, an alumnus of the University’s Law School and CEO of India Business Group said:

"As the world’s oldest and largest democracies, the UK and India share a natural fit for delivering real innovation, entrepreneurship, skills and teaching which will inspire the next generation of global leaders and our India Centre will help bring Southampton and India even closer together.” 

Last September, before retiring as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Mr Misra visited the University to give a distinguished lecture to students.

Mr Dipak Misra said: “The spell and image of a university is felt when one interacts with the faculties and is in conversation with the students. Both the aspects revolve around knowledge, interest and enthusiasm.  These facets are perceived in promptitude at the University of Southampton, for the warmth of discussion and width of participation not only have a magnetic effect but also establish immediate chemistry.

“Such was my feeling when I visited the University. My talk became vibrant not because of the attention I received but because of the discussion that followed. One could visualise the attentiveness of each member of the audience and the inquisitive questions put on nuanced scores. The impression is unforgettable.”

As well as strong connections to Indian institutions, the University has a thriving community of over 200 Indian students, 125 of whom joined this academic year. There are several very active Indian student societies that bring a taste of the country’s culture, including food, music and dance, to life on the University campus. Another goal of the centre is to further strengthen capacity in early-career researchers through research mobility, training and participation in research and consultancy activities. 

Deputy High Commissioner
His Excellency Charandeep Singh
Flame
A traditional flame was lit at the opening

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