Potential for collaboration with India

24 February 2014

When India's ambassador to Sweden visited Umeå last week, she was impressed by the contacts with her homeland. Rupali Bhalerao, Chairperson of the Nordic Centre in India, believes that the potential is even greater. She is currently working on surveying the existing university collaborations - and establishing more.

"India has the world's second largest population," says Rupali Bhalerao , who also works as a analystat the Planning Office. "In addition, research and education have a high status and many Indian students are interested in studying abroad. At the same time, many students from Umeå University are interested in studies and internships in India. Not only because it is a different and exotic experience, but also because there is an attractive job market:"

In photo from left: Rupali Bhalerao (Chairperson of the Nordic Centre in India), Agneta Marell (Deputy Vice-Chancellor for External Relations and Innovation), Lena Gustafsson (Vice-Chancellor), Carina Johansson (Coordinator, Faculty of Medicine), Banashri Bose Harrison (Ambassador of India in Sweden), Elisabeth Björnsdotter Rahm (MP, Moderate Party), Ms Bimla Chander (First Secretary at the Embassy of India), Per Nilsson (International strategist, Communication and international Relations Office), Elisabeth Nyström (Secretary of the Nordic Centre in India ), Anders Fällström (Pro-Vice-Chancellor)

As of 1 January 2014 Umeå University has been holding the Secretariat for the Nordic Centre in India, a consortium that presently consists of 18 Nordic universities. Its purpose is to promote research and education collaboration between the Nordic countries and India.

"It is a strength to work as a centre," explains Rupali Bhalerao. "We can learn from each other's network and also join together in our marketing efforts to recruit students from India. The fact that higher education institutions in the Nordic countries offer quality education in English makes us an interesting alternative for students who choose to study abroad."

India's ambassador Banashri Bose Harrison listened to presentations about some of the collaborations that Umeå University has had with Indian institutions (see box at bottom). The ambassador was pleased with the visit.

"The visit was also important to us, partly because the embassy can help us with new contacts and finding new sources of financial support," continue Rupali Bhalerao. "There are a lot of opportunities for research funding for joint projects between Sweden and India:"

She believes that Umeå University has a good base to build on from the partnerships that already exist.

"In addition, current and former researchers and students from India are good ambassadors for Umeå University. Our goal is to launch an alumni association club in India which among other things can be helpful when Umeå University is to recruit students from India."

On 4 September 2014, Ambassdor Bose Harrison will be returning to Umeå for a day arranged by the Nordic Centre called "India Day:"

"On India Day we will showcase the University's partnerships and create new networks," says Rupbali Bhalerao. "Therefore, I wish that those who are already collaborating with Indian universities within research or education to contact me. The same goes for those who want to start new collaborations. Both Umeå University and the Nordic Centre have numerous contacts that you can build on. Additionally, the embassy help us with new contacts."

Contact Rupali Bhalerao, Chairperson of the Nordic Centre in India

Nordic Centre in India

Collaborations presented at the ambassador visit:

  • Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine has current and former students from institutions including: the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the capital New Delhi and Mahatma Gandhi Medical College & Research Institute in Pondicherry, South India .
  • Professor Mikael Elofsson operates a Vinnova - funded research project on tuberculosis in collaboration with researchers at the Open Source Drug Discovery Unit in Bangalore. The Indian research team has been granted equivalent funding from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
  • Medical student education is partnered with St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, where students perform practice assignments.
  • Umeå School of Architecture students have performed fieldwork in Mumbai Read more


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