Director IIT Mandi’s visit to RWTH, Aachen, Germany

Prof. Timothy A Gonsalves, Director IIT Mandi and Dr. Tulika Srivastava, School of Basic Sciences visited RWTH Aachen, Germany on 27th to 29th March, 2014 . The visit was intended to spur academic collaboration under the MoU between IIT Mandi and the TU9 (the 9 leading technology universities of Germany). Under the MoU, IIT has committed Rs. 1.75 crores to support visits by IIT faculty and research scholars to TU9 institutions and for hosting visiting German faculty. The German Education Ministry (BMBF) has sanctioned €250,000 (about Rs. 2 crores) over 4 years. Every year, this will cover 3 month visits by 3 IIT Mandi faculty to Germany, and 3 German faculty + 3 postdocs to IIT Mandi.

The visitors from IIT Mandi met with Prof. Doris Klee, the Vice-Provost of RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Rafig Azzam, Rectorate’s Delegate for the Cooperation with India, Dr. Dieter Janssen, Acting Director, International office, Ms. Bettina Dinter, Director, Asian Programs, Dr. Hermann Wehr, Managing Director, Faculty for Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Prof. Dirk Vallee, Dean, Faculty for Civil Engineering and Dr. Wolfgang Holtkamp, Senior Advisor Int'l Relns, Stuttgart University. Other participating faculty were from Mech Engg, Civil Engg, Engg Geology and Electrical Engg & IT.

Founded in 1870, today RWTH has about 40,000 students, 500 Professors and 5,000 academic staff. This is one of the larger TU9 institutions, with an annual budget of about €788m. It has a big teaching/research hospital attached.

Prof Klee gave an overview of RWTH, Prof. Gonsalves gave a snapshot of IIT Mandi and Dr. Holtkamp explained the BMBF-funded exchange programme for TU9-IIT Mandi. There is a strong interest from RWTH for participating with IIT Mandi. Areas of potential collaboration include sustainability (jointly with IIT-Madras), materials for electronics and electrical engineering, basic services, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science and bioinformatics.

On Friday, 28th March, Prof. Gonsalves and Dr. Srivastava participated in the 2nd Young Investigators Meet arranged by Dr. K. V. Sharma, Science Counsellor, Indian Embassy, Berlin. About 80 Indian postdocs and PhD students from Germany and some other European countries attended. Prof Shevgoankar, Director, IIT-D spoke about academic careers in IIT-D (an old IIT) and Prof. Gonsalves spoke about IIT Mandi (a new IIT). 12 of the young investigators gave talks on their work. Topics included: hypersonic flows, impact craters (geology), hydrology, several areas in bioX and chemistry. Some of the participants will apply to IIT Mandi, for Assistant Professors appointments.