"Partnerships depends a bit on the relative research" Says LaTrobe Univ VC and President, Prof John Dewar
La Trobe University VC and President, Prof. John Dewar talks about Indo- Australian relationship and tie-up for research.
Internationalization is the key. La Trobe University Professor John Dewar and other senior members of the University were in India early May to announce new scholarships and three new university partnerships, in the celebratory occasion of the 50th Anniversary of India-Latrobe relationship
Reflecting on the relationship, Prof Dewar said, “Our relationship began with the tie-up with Lady Shri Ram College of Delhi. The tie-up mostly provided students opportunity to come and study in Latrobe for a short period of time. We still have about 2-3 students every year coming from the college. It goes back to a very distinguished Australian- Indian scholar Professor Robin Jeffrey and his long drawn friendship with Professor Meenakshi Gopinath, former principal of Lady Shri Ram College for almost 25 years. In fact she received an honorary doctorate from LaTrobe University. She is a member of the advisory board of Latrobe Asia.”
Professor Dewar, during his visit has launched 14 PhD scholarships worth AUD$500, 000, which is over 25 million Indian rupees, for students in India to undertake PhD programs at La Trobe’s partner university, JSS University in Mysore.
“The scholarships are a great opportunity for local students to further their studies. They will cover tuition fees and a living allowance of around 25,000 Indian rupees a month for the duration of the students’ studies. La Trobe will also cover the cost of students travelling to, and spending up to six month studying at, its Melbourne campus. At the completion of the program, students will receive a La Trobe doctoral degree,” Professor Dewar said.
Professor Dewar has also signed MOUs with India’s leading institutions, including Amity University, All India Institute of Medical Sciences and OP Jindal Global University during his visit. These were primarily research collaboration on specializations of each institution. “Partnerships depends a bit on the relative research. We are exploring collaborative research with OP Jindal considering their expertise in Business, Law and our specializations in the same field as well. We have a very good law school there. With Amity, we have got a relationship in organic chemistry. There are other areas of scientific research where there’s potential. Unless the academicians start talking to each other we can’t force it. We may initiate it but unless academics get excited about it, it is incomplete. With AIIMS of course, it is determined by their specific specialization,” Dewar detailed.
Faculty development, research programmes are a necessity, especially in the light of unemployability. Faculty selection, PhD program development and relevant research marks the importance. Elaborating further on faculty development and researches, Dewar added, “With faculties, we really have to see the kind of researches that gets them excited. This builds on to the complete PhD programme. I have already mentioned about the organic chemistry that has created some really good PhD thesis. The process how we go about it is discussing over a roundtable, the subjects of research and then building the PHD programme around that.”
MoUs are signed, however they do take time to materialize. “The JSS programme is already on place. The collaboration with other institutions will happen in few months’ time. With OP Jindal, we are still exploring the common areas of interest. We plan to get the two groups of academics pretty quickly. We are planning to do that sometime in September after similar processes”
Internationalization is also a brand marketing of private institutions. While many institutions are looking for tie-up, what are foreign universities actually looking at? Explaining the intention and purpose, Dewar negated, “We aren’t really looking at a mass institution partnership. We rather have been quite deliberate in selecting less number of institutions. We want to be focused on what we initiated. The thing that impresses me about OP Jindal and Amity is that they both committed to developing powerful research oriented university in India. That has not been Indian tradition at all. They are both committed to internationalization and are interested in Australia. We have a much focused interest of medical research with AIIMS.”
Further adding, Dewar elucidated, “For a long time relationship between Australia and India or Asia has been one way. Only Indian students travelled to Australia. The scenario is changing fast owing to the growing Indian economy. The growing interest of Australian students to come to India is astonishing. It is almost a prestigious thing to get an opportunity to come to India and study. We want to become a part of this transition and increase more research and interaction with India.”
La Trobe University is a multi-campus university based in Victoria, Australia. La Trobe has been at the forefront of higher education in Australia for the past 50 years. The University is renowned for its academic excellence and research achievements and is ranked in the top 400 universities in the world by all three major global university rankings. La Trobe University has seven campuses in Victoria and one campus in Sydney in New South Wales in Australia. More than 180,000 students have graduated from La Trobe University.
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