Cork Institute of Technology Extends Innovation Ecosystem to India

In a major development, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) has expanded its strategic relationship with a major Indian university with industry support.

The University of Pune (UoP) is one of India’s most respected and significant universities. It boasts a graduate student population of 6,000 and an undergraduate student population of 650,000 in its affiliated colleges. CIT and UoP signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2008 and have now agreed to implement a broad series of initiatives in research, student and staff exchange, and innovation ecosystem development. Cork company Zenith Technologies Ltd., leading providers of automation and manufacturing execution system solutions to a range of industries, is providing significant support to aid the expansion of the relationship in line with its business development objectives in Ireland and India.

UoP invited CIT to participate in a major bilateral research and innovation colloquium in January of this year which focused on the theme of “Collaboration in Science and Technology”. A delegation of CIT’s senior management and research staff participated in a series of workshops, research presentations, lectures, laboratory visits and industry meetings with counterparts from UoP to identify opportunities of mutual benefit to both institutions. The Head of CIT’s Faculty of Engineering and Science, Michael Loftus, states that “the result was a detailed plan of cooperation involving research collaborations, faculty and student exchanges and curriculum developments, alongside the fostering of an innovation ecosystem with an emphasis on converting research into commercial products and processes. Opening up global markets for Irish companies is a major reason for CIT to develop close ties with India.”

At the inauguration of the conference, His Excellency Mr. Ken Thompson, Ambassador of Ireland to India, commented on the commitment shown by both sides in terms of both the size of the respective delegations (with the delegation from CIT being the largest ever from an Irish institution to visit an Indian university) and the seniority of the personnel.

According to Dr. Niall Smith, Head of Research, CIT, “a particularly significant development centres on a planned visit by staff from Pune to CIT to observe and better understand the way in which CIT researchers work closely with industry as part of an end-to-end innovation ecosystem. This includes a comprehensive understanding of how to translate research ideas to commercial reality, so that research activities are of direct economic benefit, a culture that has been at the heart of the vibrant research and innovation activity in CIT for the past twenty years.”

The key research areas that will be strengthened through the collaboration include photonics (the generation and detection of light, with applications in the next generation of internet devices), biologically active compounds (from diverse sources including herbs, with a wide range of medical applications), bioinformatics, sensor technology and biomedical engineering. All areas are of considerable importance to industries in both Ireland and India.

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