A new collaborative group has formed at UAlberta to further Canada-India relations. The “Engage India: Association of Professors” launched on April 4 during at event held at UAlberta’s Telus Centre.
UAlberta and India have a rich history of collaboration, which has contributed to cultivating a range of mutually beneficial connections with Indian corporations, government, alumni, and institutions. In addition to holding 33 active agreements and welcoming hundreds of students from India each year, there are many initiatives taking place across campus, both university-wide and faculty specific.
In 2012, with $13.8 million in financial support from the Canadian government under its Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence, IC-IMPACTS (the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability) was established by UAlberta, UBC and UToronto, together with various organizations in India, to address key challenges that affect the quality of life of millions of people in Indian and Canadian communities.
Another example is the PhD fellowship agreement with Indian Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), the first such agreement that SERB has had with an international institution, which provides scholarships to support Indian PhD students to conduct research at UAlberta in joint supervision with their home supervisors. The Faculty of Arts is home to the Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Polity and Society, founded in 2007.
President Turpin delivered opening remarks to kick off the launch of Engage India, sharing that he felt it couldn’t come at a better time. “We need to create spaces where we can hear each other, see from each other’s perspective, and find solutions together,” he said, adding that “Engage India will elevate those relationships one step further. It will help create new opportunities for student mobility. It will enable the flow of people, knowledge and ideas. And it will promote the kind of joint solutions we need at this moment: solutions that benefit Canadians and Indians alike.”
The launch was attended by over 40 researchers from 9 UAlberta faculties, each with their own affiliations and interests in Canada-India relations. Among the objectives of the group is to bring together Canadian and Indian faculty members to foster collaborative research, academic exchanges and recruit top quality graduate students from india, with a mission to “serve as a forum for enhanced academic exchange between Canada and India.”
Interim Engage India President Amit Kumar shares his vision for the association. “The association is a platform for facilitating collaboration between researchers from Canada and India to solve challenges faced in both the countries,” Kumar explains. “The aim is to build on existing collaborations in various disciplines and create a network to further enhance partnerships for the benefit of both the countries.”
Dr Cen Huang, Interim Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International) served as emcee for the event. “Engage India is an important platform to promote and encourage academic collaboration and exchanges between UofA and India,” noted Huang. “ As India’s economy is one of the fastest growing in the world, the country is advancing rapidly in the areas of technology and research. We are pleased to foster strong engagement with this nation and we look forward to what we can build together in the future.”
Engage India is open to all academic members of the UAlberta community – all faculty members engaged in research or bilateral relations with India are invited to join.