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Rice signs collaboration agreement with university in India

Photo courtesy Rice University

By Viola Hsia     11/29/22 11:03pm

Rice signed an agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur  on Nov. 14, marking a collaboration between the institutions for research, teaching and training. 

Luay Nakhleh, dean of George R. Brown School of Engineering, said that this collaboration is the first move for the School of Engineering that will potentially establish Rice more prominently on the international stage. 

“For the school of engineering, it’s very important for us that we expand our international footprint,” Nakhleh said. “We have regions of interest, one of them is India.”

According to Nakleh, this collaboration began before COVID, back when President Reginald DesRoches was still the dean of the school of engineering. However, due to the pandemic, this collaboration was put on hold until now.

“We’re going [to India] to revive that program, to restart it, to start planning on concrete steps [other than signing agreements],” Nakhleh said.

The agreement, signed in early January 2020, is said to focus specifically on issues such as climate change and energy and materials science, according to Pulickel Ajayan, a professor from the department of materials science and nanoengineering.

“These problems need significant innovations in science and technology, and many universities around the world are engaged in addressing these major issues,” Ajayan said. “Our partnering with globally recognized institutions in different parts of the world gives us new opportunities, new understanding of various socio-economic factors that drive these issues and a universal view of the problems we are trying to solve.”

Provost Amy Dittmar said she is excited for the opportunities this partnership will open up for students.

“This is an exciting development for our faculty and students, and it advances our strategic priorities in the areas of global research, engagement and exchange,” Dittmar said. “This new agreement will provide valuable opportunities to collaborate with our colleagues and partners at IITK on research that explores and finds solutions to the pressing challenges of our time.”

In the spring, President DesRoches is planning to lead a delegation to Kanpur and institutions in Bangalore, Calcutta and Hyderabad.

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