Top US Institutions to Help Revamp 10 State Universities

When the first IITs were set up in the 1960s, leading foreign institutions worked with them to mentor, collaborate and build new models of high quality technical education. Several decades on, the Indian government is attempting to replicate the model — this time, however, with the oft-neglected state universities.

Ten top-ranking state universities have been selected to partner with leading US institutions, which will help them set up specialist centres on campus and build an ecosystem of cutting-edge entrepreneurship and innovation in India.

The state universities that have been picked for this global association are Osmania University, University of Jammu, Andhra University, Sri Venkateshwara University, Jadavpur University, Alagappa University, Kurukshetra University, Savitribai Phule University, Utkal University and Guru Nanak Dev University.

Broad agreements and advanced plans have already been drawn up with University of California, Berkeley; University of Pennsylvania; Purdue University; Northeastern University; Drexel University; Cornell University and University of South Florida for the collaboration. Discussions are also going on with Princeton University, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sources said.

High-level discussions with all stakeholders were held last week in New Delhi to finalise the modalities ahead of the 2019-20 academic session, when the international partnership will roll out.

It is envisaged that while the University of Pennsylvania will partner with Hyderabad’s Osmania University and University of Jammu will work on education innovation, UC Berkeley will help Jammu University set up a centre on biotechnology and data science and partner with Savitribai Phule University in Pune for a startup accelerator programme besides blockchain and data science. Purdue University will join Vishakhapatnam-based Andhra University for pharmaceutical and manufacturing while University of South Florida is expected to help Amritsar’s Guru Nanak Dev University build a centre on sports sciences and entrepreneurship. Northeastern University, sources said, will associate with Bhubaneshwar’s Utkal University to help establish a development impact lab and technology park and entrepreneurship innovation at Tirupati’s Sri Venkateshwara University.

Drexel University will partner with Alagappa University in Tamil Nadu and Haryana’s Kurukshetra University to set up hubs on biotechnology and environment while Cornell University is expected to work on agriculture with Guru Nanak Dev University and on life sciences at Alagappa University. The government is also loosening the purse strings for this international boost to state universities.

Under the project, which is being shepherded under the human resources development ministry’s Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, ₹100 crore has been set aside for these ten state universities for use till March 2020

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