October 11, 2016
IIT Alumni Centre, Chennai on Tuesday launched a new, ambitious initiative, to connect the Indian researchers and academia with those from the top global institutes and facilitate collaborative research projects and exchange programmes.
Funded by the Union HRD Ministry, the initiative titled Touchstone is the brainchild of the IIT Alumni Centre and is designed to catalyse collaboration between Technological Universities funded by the Government of India and their highly regarded counterparts, world-wide.
TOUCHSTONE will play the role of “Connector & Catalyst” facilitating connects, communication and collaboration. “Its singular purpose is speeding up & growing cross border collaborative research alliances,” said Ravi Santhanam, coordinator, Touchstone.
Under TOUCHSTONE, volunteers mobilized by IITAC will catalyze cross border collaborative research in our IITs, NITs, IIITs and IISERs (79 institutions in all) across 20 research verticals, with their counterparts from across the globe. The focus of TOUCHSTONE is to serve Indian academia by speeding up and growing cross border collaborative research alliances.
The initiative has four member on its advisory board – R. Gopalakrishnan – A well-known author, CEO at The Mindworks, Arjun Malhotra – Chairman, Evolko Inc, Magic Software Inc & Mapmygenome India, Lakshmi Narayanan – Vice Chairman, Cognizant Technology Solutions and Prof M S Ananth – A well-known academic, former Director IIT, Madras, and at present Distinguished Prof. IIT Bombay.
Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan said, “with a huge expertise at our disposal we can develop alliance models – both general as well as specific for each collaboration. Key is leveraging the untapped abundant resource – connects, ideas & goodwill of our research scholars and vast alumni fraternity.”
For the research and academia, they can concentrate on pure research without bothering about funding and spending their energies on running around the bureaucratic red tape.
R Gopalakrishnan said “cross border collaborations involve a high degree of exchange and need to be based on mutual trust and understanding. Touchstone volunteers will mobilise the larger alumni fraternity’s connects, goodwill, ideas and support and our academia in establishing meaningful and long term partnerships with their counterparts worldwide to best harness the respective strengths of both partner institutions.”