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Ryerson University has signed an agreement with Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), Mumbai, laying the groundwork for students and faculty from both institutions to collaborate on research and industry-based projects to foster innovation and entrepreneurship.
President Sheldon Levy, Ryerson University, and Devang Khakhar, director of IIT-Bombay, signed the memorandum of understanding on Oct. 17 in Toronto at a signing ceremony with executives from both academic institutions in attendance. IIT Bombay also signed agreements with University of Waterloo and University of Toronto during their two-day delegation visit in Toronto.
“India is an important strategic partner country for Ryerson because of its growing reputation in innovation which is a great match to Ryerson, Canada’s comprehensive innovation university,” says Wendy Cukier, Vice President, Research and Innovation. ”Both institutions value innovation and entrepreneurship as the platform on which to build our students and faculty members’ academic and research successes.”
“This agreement with Ryerson University marks the beginning of a fruitful and exciting new academic partnership,” says Khakhar. He anticipates that the initial collaborations will focus on technology and design, which he sees as an area of strength in both institutions and an interest shared by India and Canada.
Ryerson University and IIT Bombay have many shared research interests in the growing sectors of energy, biomedical engineering, information and communications, and aerospace – areas that IIT Bombay’s Battula Chakravarthy aims to nurture as a Ryerson Distinguished Visiting Professor.
As a professor at IIT Bombay’s Industrial Design Centre and head of its Shenoy Innovation Studio, Chakravarthy’s research and teaching is focused on bringing the worlds of industry and academia together to bolster innovation. He is cross-appointed to Ryerson’s FEAS (Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science) and FCAD (Faculty of Communication and Design).
Over the next eight months, in partnership with Ryerson, Chakravarthy plans to identify research and innovation opportunities for professors and students from Ryerson and IIT Bombay to collaborate on research and industry-based projects in visual communication; biomedical engineering product development; innovative nanotechnologies; renewable energy, particularly solar energy; affordable and sustainable habitats and aerospace engineering.
Professor Chakravarthy is also interested in creating an innovation studio in the Digital Media Zone to facilitate collaboration between students at Ryerson and at IIT Bombay. He will also deliver lectures to students in all three faculties to plant the seeds of innovation early in their academic learning environment.
“When you have students coming together from different disciplines and cultures collaborating in a team environment on projects together, you see innovation happening before your eyes. That is the future of academic learning,” says Chakravarthy whose own educational background is based on a blend of sciences, engineering, design and management studies.
International partnerships facilitated by Ryerson International are growing rapidly with Ryerson’s reputation. Ryerson’s partnership with IIT Bombay is the latest collaboration in a long-standing relationship between the university and its partner institutions in India. Over the past two years, Ryerson executives including President Sheldon Levy and Wendy Cukier, Vice President, Research and Innovation have visited India to strengthen ties. As a result of these academic trade missions, partnerships have been forged with various institutions that have similar research strengths such as Anna University and Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Energy, to create a research centre that develops solutions to solve both countries’ growing urban energy challenges.
Earlier this summer, Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) welcomed its first international fellows from India. Nine entrepreneurs in seven teams joined DMZ from the Indian Institute of Technology, (IIT Madras), the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) and the Indian School of Business (ISB Hyderabad) for fourth-month terms to work with fellow young entrepreneurs and gain advice from industry advisors and faculty. A team from IIT Delhi has already launched Zumbl, a chat platform that matches users with strangers who have similar interests. Within the first 24 hours of the website’s Oct. 31 launch, 550 new users signed up and took part in 5,000 chats.
Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 30,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years.