HT’s Aanchal Bedi in conversation with globally renowned scientist Professor Peter Hodgson, director at Institution of Frontier Material at Deakin University, Australia.
Please tell us about significant recent/upcoming partnerships with Indian institutes as well as industry partnerships for research etc.
An agreement has been signed between Deakin University and IIT Madras on joint doctoral programmes which will allow students to undertake research in both countries, and upon successful completion students will receive awards from both universities. The joint doctoral programme will help build the PhD scholar base between the two countries in the fields of material sciences and advanced manufacturing. We have signed an MoU with GE Technology Centre in Bangalore in the area of materials science and manufacturing across areas of synergy which are strategically important to both Deakin and GE. This partnership is envisaged to grow to five students over the next five years’ time. Another is the student mobility group, a study tour from the faculty of business and law. Students will be visiting India and interning with corporates to understand the business and management aspects and cultural diversity of the country.
India’s ranking in Global Innovation Index slipped to 81 in 2015. Your comments.
Education system in India is very much driven around high marks and strong focus on employment. Many courses are rigidly structured rather than being based on innovation or adopting a problem solving approach. In Australia, we focus on critical thinking, creativity, team working, problem solving etc. We ensure that our final year students spend time with research groups and are exposed to research culture. In terms of research excellence, Australia has a system to measure how universities are performing in the area of research, not just in science but also across all fields. The new government is about to launch its innovation statement and we expect that it will also give clear direction on how to improve the impact of our research on industry and society. Research innovation is part of the agenda and curriculum of the education system.
What should be done to develop scientific temper among students?
Industry has a major role to play in this. Students should be given career opportunities in the technical fields whereas at present most of the focus is on IT sector and management in India. A curriculum which is more engaging for the students will help them develop a passion for the subject. Variety of choices must be provided to students who can then develop a desire towards science.
Does Deakin University offer any scholarship for Indian students?
This year we have partnered with NDTV to offer scholarships which cover 100% tuition fee each — two at undergraduate level and two at postgraduate level. More details about the scholarship and the online application form are available at www.ndtv.com/scholarship. Apart from the 100% tuition fee scholarships, the university offers scholarships ranging from a 10% to 25 % tuition fee waiver on the basis of students’ academic credentials and extracurricular achievements.