Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) and Rice University signed a memorandum of understanding at an event held at IITK recently. By signing the agreement, the two Universities agree to share resources and perform research in the development of energy solutions, materials and sustainable technologies and then expand to other areas.

“This is a key relationship in our new partnership strategy for international engagement and impact,” said Rice University president Prof David Leebron. “India is one of our top priorities and IITK is widely acknowledged as one of the best universities in India. We’re very excited about this pathbreaking collaboration to devise solutions to the energy and environmental challenges we face.” he added.

Located in Houston, Rice University is the first US University to establish a long-term strategic presence at an Indian institution, claimed Prof Abhay Karandikar, director, IITK.

“With the revolution in technological advances and world developing at a rapid rate, energy needs are going to be a significant challenge in the future. IIT Kanpur and Rice University, being at the forefront of cutting-edge research in energy solutions, are in an excellent position to be steering the path for international collaborative research in this area. We are especially thankful to Rahul Mehta, Mehta Family Foundation for his key role in bringing the two institutions together and making the collaboration a reality,” said Prof Abhay Karandikar, director, IITK.

Through this MoU, Rice University is the first US University to have a physical presence in India in the form of Rice–IITK Research Center, located at IIT Kanpur. This center is expected to facilitate deeper levels of collaborations leading to exchange of knowledge and perspectives, enabling fertilization of ground-breaking ideas between the faculty members and researchers of Rice and IITK, said IITK director.

He said, “This will create a fertile ground for both the institutes to undertake grand challenges in the area of sustainable energy and environment. In its initial phase, Center’s research focus will be on designing and developing materials and processes for solar photovoltaics, energy storage, alternative fuels, electrocatalysis and water. Researchers on the two sides are expected to jointly supervise graduate students, publish high-impact joint research papers and garner funds from both federal agencies and industrial sponsors through joint research grants.”

“The Center will facilitate faculty, staff and student exchanges between the two institutes for promotion of joint research in the areas of energy, materials and sustainability. “The collaboration will be fructified in a physical Rice-IITK Research Center, which will impart training to the students and researchers and conduct research in areas related to clean and sustainable energy technologies and practices in the early stage of its inception, with possibility of expansion into various other areas of not only science and engineering but also humanities. Both institutes shall appoint Faculty in-charges on each side for managing and coordinating Center activities,” said Prof Abhay Karandikar, Director, IITK.

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