Global Research Centers in India

With the globalization and “flattening” of the Indian economy, more global universities want to be a part of the growth story and integrate it with their academic and research offerings. In addition, they may want to have a local presence to create stronger brand visibility for attracting high potential students and also to test the local market for possible expanded offerings in the future.

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad was one of the early pioneers of collaborating with the world-class universities. Although, ISB’s partnerships focused more on academic rather than research collaborations, it created a new expectations for global collaborations. Following ISB, Yale-Great Lakes Center for Management Research was established in 2005.

Most recently, Monash University from Australia has partnered with IIT-Bombay to setup a high profile research academy on the IIT Campus. This $10 million facility aims to undertake collaborative approach to multidisciplinary research to provide engineering solutions in areas including infrastructure, clean energy, water and nanotechnology. The Academy is also offering a joint PhD degree and has gaining lot of interest from students. Nearly 900 applications were received for 20-30 seats for the PhD program.

However, finding effective research collaborations in India is not easy for top-tier foreign universities and hence several other research collaborations have achieved limited success. This is primarily because Indian universities lack the research culture and enabling environment. Thus global universities which want to stay on the cutting of the research and do not wanting to dilute their brand, are going beyond research collaborations and establishing dedicated research centers in India.

Founded in 1997, the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for the Advanced Study of India in New Delhi was one of the early movers to establish a research centers in India. UPIASI’s undertakes research projects and engages scholars across a range of institutions in to produce research relevant to the regional needs.

Harvard Business School (HBS) established the India Research Center (IRC) in 2006 in Mumbai was a major milestone about the prominence of India in management research. In an earlier brief interview for this blog, Anjali Raina, Executive Director, HBS IRC said that “The IRC seeks to play a proactive role in the social transformation of India by engaging HBS faculty, sharing knowledge and best practices through research and case studies, encouraging talent and skills among students who are managers in the making and with leaders. The IRC works to bring the best of Harvard to India and take the best of India to Harvard.”

Overall, research collaborations and dedicated research centers of foreign universities would immensely help Indian universities in developing a culture and approach towards research which is both cutting edge and rewarding. Likewise, foreign universities gain immensely from the research engagement, networking, brand visibility and local presence in India.

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  1. I know that Lancaster University in the U.K. has partnered with a private university in India and I believe in the long-term hopes to have enrollment in India that matches enrollment in the U.K. It will be interesting to see where that effort is in five years time. –David L. Wheeler, managing editor, Chronicle International, Chronicle of Higher Education

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