UU in technology-transfer deal with India


31 Aug 2005

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University of Ulster (UU) is to engage in cutting-edge knowledge transfer with one of India’s leading universities, University of Madras (UM), siliconrepublic.com has learned. Gartner predicts ICT spending in India will surpass US$54.8bn by 2008.

UU has signed an agreement with UM in Chennai, following its participation in a recent Invest Northern Ireland (NI) trade mission to the region last year. The agreement was signed in June by Professor Richard Barnett, UU’s acting vice-chancellor and Professor Thyagarajan, vice-chancellor, UM.

Commenting on the agreement between the two universities, UU’s head of international office Joan Reilly said: “The agreement will see the two universities collaborate in biomedical sciences, conflict resolution and cultural studies, and will focus on technology and knowledge transfer, joint research projects and staff and student exchanges.

“Developing such international partnerships is an important element in the university’s growth strategy. Universities worldwide are co-operating increasingly across a range of activities, including major research projects. It is vital UU should be part of this global knowledge-transfer trend.

“Invest NI trade missions have been extremely worthwhile in that they have enabled us to explore opportunities for such exchanges in many regions. Our activities in Asia have also been assisted by Invest NI’s trade adviser in Singapore and in the US by staff at the NI Technology and Development Centre in Boston,” she adds.

Invest NI’s managing director of innovation and capability development, Tracy Meharg, said: “Encouraging NI academic institutions and companies to build international networks for business and technology exchange is a central theme of Invest NI’s corporate strategy.

“Our extensive trade mission programme, which includes forthcoming visits to India on 1-12 October and China later in the year, provides an ideal and cost-effective springboard for this important process for companies and institutions, as well as the wider NI economy. Our technology and development centres in Boston, Denver and Dubai and our network of overseas offices provide facilities that can be used to identify and foster international business relationships.

This agreement is part of a rapidly developing relationship between the UU and India. UU’s Professor of Telecommunications, Gerard Parr, was recently requested by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to develop a joint UK/India research project on future telecommunications and establish an advisory group of senior researchers that will involve India’s institutes of technology.

This followed Parr’s role in a major conference in New Delhi that was organised by the British High Commission and focused on areas for bilateral collaboration between India and UK researchers in fields such as telecommunications. UU’s nanotechnology expert, Professor Jim McLaughlin, will be a keynote speaker at an international workshop on nanotechnology being held at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay next month.

The Indian Government has also contacted Professor John McCloskey of the School of Environmental Sciences at UU for advice on an early warning system to help reduce the impact of earthquakes in South Asia. McCloskey and his team are at the forefront of research into earthquakes and tsunamis in the Indian Ocean region.

According to research from Gartner, India continues to have the fastest-growing ICT market in the world. It predicts a combined annual growth rate of 19pc from 2004 through 2008. Though starting from a much smaller base, this is significantly faster growth than the second fastest-growing ICT market in the world — China. Gartner estimates ICT spending in India will surpass US$54.8bn by 2008, a rise from US$29.5bn in 2004.

“India is one of the few countries in the world where the impact of the services export-oriented business far outweighs that of the domestic side,” said Partha Iyengar, research vice-president at Gartner. “The overall impact of ICT development in the country is skewed heavily around the unique dynamics of this services export trend, often to the detriment of the domestic opportunity.”

By John Kennedy