Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Steve Smith with University of Exeter representatives Vivienne Fenandoe and Varun Ramesh from the Bangalore Office.

Exeter returns to India

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Steve Smith this week returned to India for the second time in less than a month, leading a senior delegation from the University of Exeter to the cities of Mumbai and Bangalore.

Since the establishment of its Representation in Bangalore in 2011, the University has intensified partnership engagement in the country, with ever greater numbers of Exeter faculty engaged in collaborative research projects with their Indian counterparts.

During the visit, Sir Steve signed Memorandum of Understanding with two new partners in Bangalore – the National Law School of India University, where teaching and research collaboration is already underway with Exeter’s School of Law, and Jain University, which is collaborating with Exeter’s College of Humanities.

Meetings were also held with the National Institute of Advanced Studies to continue investment for the next round of split-site PhDs in Archaeology and Drama. Seven students are currently enrolled on the programme, with a further five scholarships to be awarded next month. Meetings were also held at the British Deputy High Commission with senior staff from existing partners IISc and IIM-B.

Separately, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Armstrong led a delegation to IIT-Bombay to build on existing research links that are underway in the area of water systems engineering. As part of Exeter’s commitment to its Indian partners, the University has awarded £35,000 of scholarships for 14 students to attend its International Summer School later this year.

Exeter has over 400 contactable alumni based in India and Sir Steve hosted an alumni reception at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai. Exeter’s Indian alumni community is witnessing significant growth due to the large rise in students attending the University.

Despite recent negative coverage in the Indian press concerning the UK immigration regime, Exeter’s Indian population continues to grow, and now stands at 220 students, the highest it has ever been. As recently as six years ago, the number of Indian students at Exeter was less than 50.

For Sir Steve it was the second visit to India in less than a month. In February he accompanied British Prime Minister David Cameron to India as part of the largest UK trade delegation ever assembled.

Sir Steve said,“It is a great privilege to return to India, to meet our outstanding alumni and to deepen our partnership engagement in this country. I have always said that this University would invest significantly and for the long term in our relationships and I am delighted to see the progress that has been made to date.”

Date: 18 March 2013

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