Monday, March 22, 2010

Yale offers to mentor 14 'innovation universities'

Yale University is in talks with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to develop leadership programmes to mentor the 14 “innovation universities” the government is planning to set up. The “innovation universities” are part of the MHRD’s “brain gain” policy to attract global talent. Fourteen such institutions are to be set up under the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12). Several other leading foreign universities, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have also expressed an interest in mentoring these institutions. An official confirmed the ministry met these institutes almost two weeks ago to discuss these plans.

Yale’s talks with the MHRD involve mentoring all 14 universities through its leadership programme. Since none of these universities have been built, the Ivy League university’s role is to act as consultant and conceptualiser. “Minister Sibal has agreed to work with us on the new innovation universities for references and conceptualising. We will be developing leadership programmes for the deans and vice chancellors of these universities,” said George Joseph, assistant secretary, Yale University. “We don’t plan to set up an India campus anytime soon because there is no way to replicate Yale’s experience anywhere in the world but we would like to mentor the new innovation universities just like the Indian Institutes of Technology were mentored when they were established,” he added.

Each “innovation university” is expected to focus on one area or problem of significance to India, such as urbanisation, environmental sustainability and public health. MIT has expressed interest in mentoring one university that is focused on the energy sector. "Though MIT's proposal is still under discussion, the university has shown keen interest in this,” a ministry official confirmed.

Meanwhile, Yale also plans to use part of the funds from its Yale India initiative for the leadership programme for these new universities. The initiative began in November 2008 and now has almost $75 million (Rs. 338 crore). “In the next phase of the initiative, we will raise funds for research,” Joseph added.

Source: Business Standard, March 22, 2010

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