Indian university leaders find out how business and academia can solve problems collectively during UK visit
Birmingham/New Delhi, Apr 29 (IBNS): A delegation representing 13 institutions from India has visited Birmingham City University this week to learn more about how UK universities operate, and with the hope of exploring potential partnerships in the future.
The delegation spent time on Thursday with staff from the institution’s Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences, the International Office and the Department of Enterprise Innovation and Business Engagement. They also enjoyed sessions on how Birmingham City University works internationally and how its links with industry are developed and sustained.
The visit to Birmingham City University was part of a week-long tour of UK higher education institutions by 35 senior and middle-level academic and non-academic staff from Indian universities, plus participants from the Indian Ministry for Human Resource Development.
The visitors are in the UK as part of a leadership and management training programme which is being facilitated by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, with teaching taking place both in New Delhi, India and in the UK.
The course is being run in partnership with the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI). Starting in April 2006, UKIERI has the aim of enhancing educational links between India and the UK and to set an example of best practice in international cooperation.
Professor Julian Beer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research, Enterprise and Business Engagement, Birmingham City University, welcomed the delegation and said: “We are delighted at this opportunity to share knowledge and experience with our friends from India and we hope that from this visit we are able to build further institutional links with the country.”
Another area of interest to the delegates was how Birmingham City University is managing the value chain from innovation to commercialisation, especially with its newly launched STEAMHouse project.
The UK Government announced in March that it will be contributing £14 million to help transform a former tea factory in Birmingham into a collaborative innovation centre for solving the challenges facing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands region. By linking academic research and the vibrant creative arts scene in the Birmingham area of Digbeth, the University hopes to develop a new supply chain across the region.
Upam Makhecha, Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli said: “Our visit to Birmingham City University has offered a fantastic perspective on how an institution can successfully open up to position itself globally, with strong and mutually beneficial partnerships. Coming from a relatively new institution, my colleagues and I can certainly take a lot of inspiration for our own future from what we’ve heard about today.”
The Indian delegates are from universities and institutes selected by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which is responsible for higher education within the Government of India. Following their UK visit, it is hoped that the delegates will cascade their newfound knowledge among their own teams.
Professor Shyamanta Hazarika, Head of Department, Computer Science and Engineering, Tezpur University added: “The warmth we have received from Birmingham City University has touched my heart. The staff have being so kind in giving up their time to speak in-depth with us, share their knowledge and place such an importance on our visit. Our experience today really makes me hopeful for fruitful collaborations with the University in the future.”
Birmingham City University has a proud history of engagement with India and has provided education for more than 1,000 Indian students across the institution’s four Faculties. Its alumni occupy senior positions in a wide range of organisations across India including AT&T, Barclays, BBC, IBM, Mitsubishi and Tata Elxsi.
The city of Birmingham itself has a proud reputation as one of the most diverse cities in Europe, and is home to nearly 65,000 residents of Indian ethnic origin.
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