Joint Proposal of IIT Ropar and Swinburne University selected For SERB – VAJRA Faculty Scheme

Ropar, 24 November 2017: The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has recently launched ‘Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA) Faculty Scheme’ to tap the expertise of overseas faculty/scientists including non-resident Indians (NRIs). Under this, a joint proposal of distinguished Professor Christopher Berndt of Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia and Professor Harpreet Singh of School of Mechanical, Materials and Energy Engineering, IIT Ropar, has been selected.

The Department of Science and Technology is set to host Professor Berndt for up to three months at IIT Ropar. The application has been selected after being evaluated by a selection committee of eminent scientists. The grant for the foreign faculty covers their travel to and associated expenses at IIT Ropar.

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Professor Berndt will lead the joint R&D project with a major objective of creating a ‘Joint Institute on Advanced Surface Engineering’ aiming to ‘transform science into industrial solutions’. IIT Ropar is in collaboration with Swinburne University as part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The VAJRA project represents an opportunity for a strong 3-year (and more) association for extended research collaboration and mentoring. Professor Berndt said, “This is an exciting opportunity that paves the road towards excellent post graduate education for outcomes that will be valuable for industry. I am keenly looking forward to cementing the relationship between IIT-Ropar and Swinburne University”.

Prof. Berndt will visit Ropar thrice a year for a period of 10-14 days each. The objective will be to hold scientific meetings with the Ropar faculty and post graduate students. The meetings will seek to solve technical issues, discuss theoretical aspects and contribute joint publications. The VAJRA Fellow will also hold bi-weekly Skype calls with the post graduate students and faculty to ensure there is regular communication and constant research progress.

“This is a novel scheme that allows foreign-based scientists to contribute to the Indian growth by working as adjunct faculty in Indian laboratories and academic institutions. I am glad that our application has been selected, which will enable us to carry out advanced research in the area of Surface Engineering”, said Professor Harpreet Singh, IIT Ropar.

Dr Narinder Singh, Dr Dhiraj K Mahajan and Dr Prabhat K Agnihotri from IIT Ropar are co-investigators that form the core team for this ground-breaking project.

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