GIS - 10 October, 2014: The International Institute of Technology Research Academy (IITRA) aims to be an industry driven academic institute and must leverage critical mass in particular by maximising and exploiting the impact of its Research.
The Director of IITRA, Professor S. M. Ishtiaque, spelt out, for representatives of the private sector, the agenda of IITRA at a seminar on the Academia Industry Interaction -AI2 initiative held yesterday at the seat of the Mauritius Research Council (MRC) in Ebène. The IITRA, inaugurated on 23 July 2014, operate with the support of the MRC and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, to offer a world class research platform in this side of the world in the field of scientific and technological research.
According to Prof Ishtiaque, IITRA needs focused and Public Private Partnership that cover entire innovation chain as well as needs to stimulate, develop and nurture new generations of excellent engineers, technologists and basic scientists.
The IITRA has initiated the AI2 with the objectives of bridging the gap between the industry and the Institute, using resources from industry and academia for the benefit of industry, student and society as well as making available institutional infrastructural facilities to the industry and vice versa. The purposes of the seminar, jointly organised by the MRC and IITRA, were to highlight the main focus of the IITRA and also to give some insights on Academia and Industry Interaction (AI2) as proposed by the IITRA.
At the opening of the seminar, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, Dr Rajeshwar Jeetah, called for a change of mindset and culture, both at the level of academia and industry. “We need to raise our level of ambitions, be more affirmative in the field of science, engineering and research and emulate countries such as India, South Korea, Japan and Singapore”, he stated.
Urging representatives of private sector to seize the opportunity provided by the setting up of an IIT-like institution in Mauritius, Dr Jeetah said that it was time for research institutions and the industry to work closer. He invited the private sector to participate in consultative committees into research and develop formal associations in a bid to bring about positive changes.
During the seminar, Prof Ishtiaque highlighted the necessity for industry and academia to work in a complementary situation and in tandem. Comparing the two realms, he spoke of the solution deficit of industry that is a situation where the required technology and experiences are available while there is a lack of qualified labour and a limited budget in finding a solution to problems. As for the academia, though they have the research expertise, well qualified students looking for job and availability of solutions, they are problem deficit. “As such, both industry and academia can work together at lowest possible cost”, he said.
Speaking of the advantages of fruitful collaboration between industry and academia, Prof Ishtiaque pointed out that while the academia can benefit from access to industry resources, knowledge and contacts, and thus have their research funded, the industry can access world class researchers, state-of-the-art knowledge in the field of engineering and IT as well as innovative background/ sideground knowledge and data. “Academic research can offer depth not always found in commercial research”, he added.
Prof Ishtiaque also listed the various projects that could be implemented under AI2. They include continuous education programmes and on-going university training to suit the needs of the industry. He called on the representatives of private sector to embark in the industry oriented research project bank, the industry sponsored academic programmes, the industry sponsored research programmes as well as industry sponsored research laboratories. The main focus of these programmes is that the research area will be specific to the industry, and projects developed as per the needs and requirements proposed by the industry.
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