University of Wollongong links with Indian tertiary institutions

The University of Wollongong has extended its reach into India with several new research and teaching ties.

UOW top brass travelled to India late last month to ink agreements with two of the country's institutes of technology, in Kharagpur and Mumbai.

The agreements relate to future research and teaching collaborations in mining and related engineering areas, and build on existing collaborations with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Delhi, and the Gujarat government.

The government is investing $6 million seed funding into the development of an International Centre of Excellence in Mining.

Joe Chicharo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International), who with UOW Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings travelled to India to sign the Memorandum of Understanding, said UOW's contribution to the projects was in expertise, and was non-financial.

"The mining sector in India I understand represents 8-9 per cent of the GDP," Professor Chicharo said.

"Wollongong has a long tradition of excellence, particularly around mining and automation."

The agreements allow for research links and student exchange programs, some of which have already begun.

UOW's meetings with the government of Gujarat officials advanced a five-year action plan for UOW's involvement as the international knowledge partner with the new centre for excellence.

The UOW's interest in Gujarat was sparked by mining boss Arun Jagatramka of Gujarat NRE Coke, formerly Gujarat NRE Coking Coal.

Mr Jagatramka was involved in initial introductions but had no role in any of the recent talks, Prof Chicharo said.

"Arun certainly introduced us to Gujarat and the university, then established very close links with the government of Gujarat, particularly by the Premier [then Barry O'Farrell's] visit," Prof Chicharo said.

"It's in a sense recognition for Wollongong's standing internationally that we've been chosen to be a member."

Asked if it could represent a UOW India campus in future, Prof Chicharo said: "It's not out of the question that we would have a building dedicated to Wollongong activities," he said.

"But at the moment it's a joint centre."

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