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IIT Bombay’s Deputy Director, Prof. HS Pandalai, and Dean of International Relations, Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri, visited Houston from October 22 through 24.
The purpose of their visit was to seek collaboration with local universities and companies, to meet PhD students, and to meet local alumni–all for the benefit of IIT Bombay.The professorial duo met all their expectations and more with the help of local IIT Bombay alumni, led by Pradeep Anand and Lalit Bohra.
On October 22, Hon. Consul General of India, P. Harish, welcomed the team, senior executives from oil industry, and Deans and senior faculty from the University of Houston and Rice University over a delightful and delicious dinner, over discussions about Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and India. All attendees, especially the visitors and the organizers, were very appreciative of Hon. P. Harish and his family’s warm hospitality.
On October 23, Profs. Pandalai and Chaudhuri spent the morning at the University of Houston, where they met Dean William Fitzgibbon of the College of Technology (COT), Associate Dean Ray Cline (COT), Dean Latha Ramchand of the Bauer College of Business, Dr. Mark Clarke from the University’s IP and Patent office, Prof. Jaspal Subhlok, Chair of Computer Sciences department, a representative of the college of engineering, and Prof. Rupa Iyer of Biotechnology.
The meeting had several outcomes, including potential visits to IIT Bombay to discuss collaboration in Energy Management and Biotechnology.After an intense morning, Profs. Pandalai and Chaudhuri visited Rice University for a meeting on “Technology Challenges in the E&P Industry”.
This meeting was hosted by Dr. Douglas Schuler of the Jones College of Management. Participants included technology executives from Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, SigmaCubed, Schlumberger, Weatherford, GE Oil & Gas, NobleTek, and World Oil.
An action item from the discussion was to have a meeting, a conference at IIT Bombay, tentative title: Solutions to E&P Industry Challenges. The broad agenda:
1. Faculty/Academia will present their world class, leading edge capabilities in the above highlighted areas
2. E&P industry technology leaders will highlight their challenges
3. A day of brainstorming sessions with faculty across various IIT Bombay departments to discuss potential projects and solutions. If possible, this inaugural conference should be held during Q1, 2013, before it gets too hot in Mumbai.
After a brief break, the distinguished visitors were then honored at a reception at Kiran’s Restaurant, hosted by local IIT Bombay Alumni. The evening was sponsored by IIT Bombay alumnus Dee Vaidya, Chairman of NobleTek, an engineering services firm. There were no speeches and presentations, only enjoyable conversations, in a congenial and relaxing atmosphere. It was a fitting end to a very hectic and fruitful day.
On October 24th, Profs. Pandalai and Chaudhuri had an early start, visiting the Bioscience Research Collaborative (BRC) at Rice University. They had a productive discussion with Dr. Lauren Vestewig-Gray and Dr. Binata Mukherjee. Common ground between BRC’s and IIT Bombay’s bioscience initiatives was quickly apparent and recognized. Decisions were made to have immediate meetings over Skype, to seek and build programs on the existing MOU between Rice University and IIT Bombay.
The final session was a visit to Dr. Schuler’s project, a solar-power based device that produces steam; appropriate for places where there are no power sources, except the sun. Profs. Pandalai and Chaudhuri saw an immediate opportunity for cooperation with IIT Bombay’s Center for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA-pronounced Sitara).
Profs. Pandalai and Chaudhuri were very gracious visitors. They welcomed the hectic schedule that the local alumni laid out for their short, forty-eight hour stay. They must have had a restful flight to Dallas, the next stop in their US visit itinerary, which ended with a final stop in New York, NY.
The group is now looking forward to more cooperation between IIT Bombay and Houston’s educational, research, business and other institutions.