New Delhi, Oct. 29: Students and teachers from universities across India may now tap a “one-stop shop” to look for education and research opportunities in Germany across diverse areas of the sciences and humanities.
The German government opened a House for Research and Innovation here on Saturday to promote the European country as an attractive location for higher education and research and bolster academic exchanges between the two countries.
“This initiative could greatly benefit students and faculty in state universities with no previous contact with German institutions,” said Sudhir Sopory, vice-chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, who has spent several years as a visiting scientist in Germany.
The annual number of students moving to Germany from India for higher education or research has tripled over the past decade to cross 6,000 this year. About 1,000 Indian students make up Germany’s second-biggest group of doctoral students of foreign-origin.
The House for Research and Innovation is expected to make the search for opportunities in Germany easier, said Matthias Kleiner, president of the German Research Foundation, one of 14 German academic institutions supporting the initiative.
An Indian student who might have had to invest an entire semester just to seek opportunities can now use the House as a “first contact point”, Kleiner said at the inauguration. “The search for the right course or the source of funding is now just a phone call or a website away.”
“We want to see a two-way flow of researchers — from India to Germany and from Germany to India,” Kleiner said on the sidelines of the event.
Indian scientists expect most collaborative efforts in science, technology and medical research to be dominated by researchers from India spending time in German laboratories.
“But we could see more of German researchers visiting India for joint work in the humanities and social sciences,” a senior Indian scientist said.
The German Research Foundation, for instance, is exploring ways to get Indian and German historians to collaborate on projects of common interest.
An analysis of research publications between 2004 and 2009 shows that Germany has emerged as India’s second most productive research partner after the US.
During the five-year period, papers co-authored by Indian and German researchers accounted for 13 per cent of India’s collaborative publications, while joint papers with US researchers made up 34 per cent.
The House in New Delhi is being described as the “fifth focal point for enhanced German academic and research cooperation”, after similar Houses in Sao Paolo, Moscow, New York and Tokyo.