IITB-Monash Research Academy partners with SABIC

Finalised this week, the agreement with SABIC (the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) will fund some 12 PhD students over the next four years.

August 23, 2013 3:00 IST | India Infoline News Service
The IITB-Monash Research Academy and one of Saudi Arabia's largest companies, SABIC, will join forces to produce graduates with highly specialised knowledge required by the advanced chemicals and polymers industry. 

Finalised this week, the agreement with SABIC (the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) will fund some 12 PhD students over the next four years. It builds on partnerships the Academy has already established with entities including the CSIRO, BHPB and Orica Mining Services in Australia, and Infosys, Reliance Industries, Jindal Steel Works, P&G, Intel, Thermax, Piramal Life Sciences and Tata Consultancy Services in India.

Based in Mumbai, the Academy was established in 2008 by Monash University and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. Partnerships with and exposure to industry is a key component of the innovative, transnational PhD program. Candidates study in both India and Australia and graduate with a jointly badged degree.

Monash Vice-President (India and China Initiatives) Professor Tam Sridhar, said the agreement indicated that the Academy was gaining international recognition.

"SABIC is one of the largest companies in the Middle East and the Academy is delighted to partner with it," Professor Sridhar said.

"This agreement represents an important step for the Academy - our first partnership with a company established outside of our core bases in India and Australia."

Research projects in areas of interest to SABIC - including novel chemicals, plastics, and metals - will be included in the next intake of PhD scholars later this year.

CEO of the Academy, Professor Mohan Krishnamoorthy signed the agreement with Dr Surendra Kulkarni of SABIC, India.

"The Academy produces widely applicable research outcomes and graduates with specialised expertise that is demanded by our industry partners. The model is gaining traction globally," Professor Krishnamoorthy said. 

The Academy recently celebrated its first graduation ceremony, with PhDs being conferred on four graduates, two of whom have already gained employment with industry partners.

There are currently 130 PhD scholars at the Academy and this number is expected to build to 300 in the next few years. Approximately 120 Monash faculty staff are involved in collaborative projects that are focussed around six major themes: Advanced Computational Engineering, Simulation and Manufacture; Infrastructure Engineering; Biotechnology and Stem Cell Research; Clean energy; Water; and Nanotechnology. 

The agreement with SABIC comes as construction begins on a new building for the IITB-Monash Research Academy in Bombay, which is expected to be completed at the end of 2014.

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