by Nicole Capozziello
Published September 22, 2022
The United States and India have long been leaders in the education and development of engineers. Now, a new joint PhD program in computer science and engineering between the University at Buffalo and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur will strengthen this international partnership.
The program aims to attract top PhD students and foster collaborative research projects between students and faculty at both institutions.
“This program is a win-win, for PhD students, for faculty, and for both institutions,” says Venu Govindaraju, UB vice president for research and economic development and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. “From developing young researchers to optimizing research data, this program presents so many opportunities for collaboration.”
As a part of the program, PhD students’ research and dissertation will be jointly directed by two faculty advisors, one at each institution. Students will have the opportunity to spend time at each institution and at the program’s conclusion will be awarded two PhDs, one from UB and one from IIT Jodhpur.
Connection was essential to bringing about the program. Govindaraju and Santanu Chaudhury, the director of IIT Jodhpur, are both alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, the oldest IIT, from which they graduated nearly 35 years ago.
“For successful collaborations, connections have to be made at the ground level. Once connections and interest to collaborate are in place, then you can implement a structure at the institutional level,” says Govindararu, who along with Jinhui Xu, Shambhu Upadhyaya, Nalini Ratha, all colleagues in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Christopher Connor, assistant dean and chief enrollment officer for graduate education in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and UB’s International Education Office, collaborated with partners at IIT Jodhpur to create the PhD program.
“Such a joint PhD program not only strengthens our collaborations with top universities like IIT Jodhpur in research and education, but also helps attract the best students from talent-rich countries like India, which will enhance the overall quality of our graduate programs,” added Xu, who is a professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering says,
This program is part of a larger partnership between UB and institutes of higher learning from India, focused on developing joint projects related to nanomaterials. UB and six Indian universities– the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi, and Ashoka University – recently signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU), effective May 17, 2022 to May 16, 2027.
The MOU was signed at the UB-Indian Institutes of Technology UB-Indo Workshop, hosted at UB from May 16-18, 2022. The workshop centered on the design, synthesis and data-driven discovery of nanomaterials for electronics, photonics and biotechnology and activities included presentations, strategy sessions, laboratory and facility tours, and many opportunities for networking.
In the partnership and in the program specifically, UB faculty look forward to drawing on students’ interest and expertise for advancing such areas as AI, pattern recognition, and material science.