A one-day visit to the Commonwealth University of Virginia by two delegates from the Indian Embassy in Washington could open the door to educational exchanges and partnerships between students and staff at VCU and their counterparts at the foreigner. Meetings with VCU administration, faculty and students on October 21 served to convey to visitors and hosts the unique attributes of VCU and possible ways of working together.
In opening remarks to Dhananjay Tiwary, Ph.D., Science and Technology Advisor for Embassy of India, and Anshul Sharma, Education Advisor, VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., pointed out the university’s potential in terms of partnerships and academic exchanges.
“At VCU, we are very proud that this is a very experiential experience for the students; we want to integrate research, scholarship and creative practices in a way that is not done elsewhere, ”said Rao. “It’s part of our strategic plan. It penetrates the entire institution, including clinical, studio and laboratory experiments. ”
Rao shared stories about student and faculty learning, research and entrepreneurship as well as community engagement. There are currently around 200 Indian students at VCU. Rao said his goal would be to more than double that number.
“I think we have a special opportunity,” Rao said. “I will tell you that Indian brothers and sisters will be supported by fellow Indians whose parents came here and who are growing up here. It is a wonderful match when you bring together Indian students who are in a foreign country with other students who are sympathetic, sensitive and understanding their origins.
P. Srirama Rao, Ph.D., VCU’s vice president for research and innovation, provided an overview of the facilities and surveys, highlighting the $ 363 million in university-sponsored research funding at during the last fiscal year.
“Our goal is to make sure that a lot of the research that is undertaken that is undertaken can actually be transferred to the market,” he said. “With our culture of collaboration, we try to ensure that it engages our students and teachers and responds to societal challenges. We are poised for huge growth, attracting a lot of top talent to VCU at different levels. … We are changing the world in a very profound way. It is a great pride.
Barbara Boyan, Alice T. and William H. Goodwin Jr. Dean of VCU College of Engineering, provided an overview of the expansions, funding, research and merit scholarships that benefit students and faculty.
“Those [students] to show that they have moxia, that they are really going to do something on their own and give it to the next, ”Boyan said. “We are able to keep the students here and provide them with an engineering education with less investment from their family than expected. “
Boyan highlighted the Dreams to Reality incubator, where students can set up their business with a physical address, noting that the space shared with the School of Business is designed to develop partnerships.
Tiwary explained to VCU management that the Indian government has a history of engagement with American educational institutions.
“The strategic areas in which we are working are clean energy technologies, healthcare, megasciences, emerging technologies, artificial intelligence and earth and ocean sciences,” Tiwary said.
Sharma enumerated a convergence of interests and ways to potentially collaborate to explore innovations, conduct research and access joint funding sources. Areas of focus include medicine, health, therapy, vaccine diagnostics, infectious diseases such as HIV / AIDS, and non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
Sharma said he hoped to facilitate multiple entry and exit points for exchanges, including short visits by students with potential for joint and double degrees, strategic research partnerships, joint organization of workshops, seminars and conferences.
“Alumni networks are also essential motivators for university-to-university collaborations. If a VCU student returns [to India] he or she will be the determining factor. We can make it easier to build these alumni networks, ”said Sharma.
Jill Blondin, Ph.D., Executive Director and Senior International Manager of the VCU Global Education office, said Tiwary and Sharma’s visit had been very productive.
“VCU’s research initiatives align closely with many of India’s research priorities in healthcare, engineering and education. This visit was very timely as India and VCU are reinventing how, through research and student success, governments and academic institutions can work together to find solutions to tomorrow’s problems, ”Blondin said .
“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, international academic collaboration is now more important than ever. Comprehensive research in an intercultural context only serves to strengthen the skills of all involved. This visit helped us envision many areas where we can provide increased global opportunities for research and engagement for our students and faculty at home and abroad. ”
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