An Indian delegation of 35 senior and middle-level academic and non-academic staff from 13 institutions besides ministry of HRD officials visited UK a couple of weeks back to learn more about how UK universities operate, and with the hope of exploring potential partnerships in the future. The visitors were in the UK as part of a leadership and management training programme which is being facilitated by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, with teaching taking place both in New Delhi, India and in the UK. The course is being run in partnership with the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI). Starting in April 2006, UKIERI has the aim of enhancing educational links between India and the UK and to set an example of best practice in international cooperation.
The delegation also toured Birmingham City University and spent time on Thursday 28 April with staff from the institution’s Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences, the International Office and the Department of Enterprise Innovation and Business Engagement. They also enjoyed sessions on how Birmingham City University works internationally and how its links with industry are developed and sustained. Another area of interest to the delegates was how Birmingham City University is managing the value chain from innovation to commercialisation, especially with its newly launched STEAMHouse project.
The UK Government announced in March that it will be contributing £14 million to help transform a former tea factory in Birmingham into a collaborative innovation centre for solving the challenges facing micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands region. By linking academic research and the vibrant creative arts scene in the Birmingham area of Digbeth, the University hopes to develop a new supply chain across the region.
Upam Makhecha, Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli said: “Our visit to Birmingham City University has offered a fantastic perspective on how an institution can successfully open up to position itself globally, with strong and mutually beneficial partnerships. Coming from a relatively new institution, my colleagues and I can certainly take a lot of inspiration for our own future from what we’ve heard about today.”
Birmingham City University has a proud history of engagement with India and has provided education for more than 1,000 Indian students across the institution’s four Faculties. Its alumni occupy senior positions in a wide range of organisations across India including AT&T, Barclays, BBC, IBM, Mitsubishi and Tata Elxsi.