Binghamton University launches series of strategic collaborations with engineering programs in India


BINGHAMTON, NY – Building on a solid foundation of strategic interactions with India, Binghamton University recently broadened its partnerships to include three new initiatives that will not only enhance the engineering knowledge base on a global scale but could also lead to economic development opportunities on both sides of the world.

“India has become an economic, educational and intellectual powerhouse over the last decade,” said Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath. “This is India’s moment, and universities in the United States will be remiss if they are not part of it. Binghamton University is deeply interested in being part of this movement and is developing the kind of collaborative partnerships that unite researchers in New York and India. We have already been very successful in engaging in forward-thinking partnerships because we have taken a selective, strategic and careful approach. These three new initiatives will provide even more opportunities to meet complementary needs that we have no doubt will result in a win/win situation for us and our partners.”

The first of the new initiatives was launched when President Magrath signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Vellore Institute of Technology to forge academic and research cooperation with a particular focus on doctoral program collaboration.  Discussions also included the establishment of a collaborative research center as well as short course offerings for graduate students that will be taught by Binghamton University faculty. Joining Magrath at the MOU signing was Bahgat Sammakia, interim vice president for research, and Krishnawami Srihari, dean of the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Sammakia and Srihari also traveled to Pune, India, to help launch a brand-new engineering research center with Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT). The new center, a first of it’s kind for Binghamton, is an extension of the relationship the University already has with VIT which includes a 2 + 2 engineering program and oversight of a range of professional development courses for engineers.

Offering a distinctive approach to international alliances, the new research center not only partners Binghamton with an institution across the globe but also directly connects the University to a range of high-level companies in a foreign country. Equally important is the expectation that the center will be fully self-sufficient within three years.

“The center offers a range of benefits for Binghamton, “ said Sammakia. “University faculty will have access to a whole new range of research opportunities - some that they may not have ever had to address in the United States as well as those that are particularly unique to conditions in India. The knowledge and expertise gained will benefit not only our faculty and students but also our business partners, both locally and across New York state.”

Based in Pune, the center will engage VIT masters and doctoral students in a range of research opportunities that will be jointly identified by Binghamton and VIT faculty. These problems will be drawn directly from a consortium of Indian companies that will be permanently associated with the center. Acting as co-advisors, faculty from Binghamton and VIT will work closely with the VIT students by tapping into every available technological tool available. Using Skype and any and all web-based resources, faculty on both sides of the globe will be able to stay in touch with the project and with each other. Every quarter, research results will be reviewed and shared with the consortium members. And to make sure the long-distance relationship works smoothly, the day-to-day administration will be managed by Anveshak Technology and Knowledge Solutions, which is headed up by Binghamton University graduate, Sandeep Tonapi.

“The research center offers a wonderful opportunity for a whole range of faculty and student exchanges for both campuses,” said Srihari. “Along with regular long-distance communication, we fully expect faculty and students to visit one another as they explore research solutions. So, not only will engineers on both sides of the world get to collaborate on some of our most important global challenges but it will also give both campuses access to a wealth of international experiences. A big plus is that we will also be able to establish new and exciting links with some of India’s leading companies.“

Having successfully launched these two initiatives, the group then met with academic and administrative leaders at Manipal University where discussions centered on the establishment of a host of research and academic collaborations. Through Manipal, which has multiple campuses in multiple countries, Binghamton University will have unprecedented access to faculty, students and leading businesses and industries across Asia. With Manipal’s strong focus on healthcare and being one of the top 10 medical colleges in India, Binghamton would be able to expand its own health related research activities on a global scale.  A formal MOU will be signed with Manipal later this semester.

Last Updated: 9/17/13