'Research should be the focus in universities'

Written by fe Bureau | Updated: May 30 2011, 06:39am hrs
The Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (ITRI) was created in 2008 to play a key role in Deakin Universitys cutting-edge research activities. Last year, The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) and Deakin University entered into a MoU to establish the Teri-Deakin Nano Biotechnology Research Centre in the field of nano biotechnology in India. In an interview with FE, Professor Peter Hodgson, director, ITRI, speaks about Deakins journey in India. Excerpts:

What is your India research initiative all about

In 2009, we formed the Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI), which is responsible for supporting collaborative research programmes and higher degrees by research for students largely based out of India and jointly supervised by an Australian and an Indian supervisor.

What is DIRI vision

DIRI is an expansion of Deakin Universitys development of research models that bridge the gap between academia and industry. Discussions with organisations in India have highlighted how bridging this gap will be a major factor enabling the rapid increase in manufacturing and knowledge industries needed for growing Indian economy. Deakin has formed research partnerships with some of Indias leading companies, research institutes and universities.

What is your take on the excellence at IITs We know that IITs rank high in, say, the salary packages the students receive, but they dont rank so high in, say, research. What lacks

Getting into the IITs gives you an assurance of a good career and most students stick themselves to a BTech degree, which gives them a high paying job. Some do Btech plus Mtech, and very few proceed to do a degree in research. But this should not be the case. In some of the finest institutes in the world, students are more concerned on publications, patents, etc. In Indian institutes of technical excellence, students are more concerned about getting jobs. But I believe this should and will change over time.