Three institutions spearheaded by Australia’s La Trobe University have joined hands to form the ‘Asian Smart Cities Research and Innovation Network’ in India, with a fund of £7.5 million (Indian Rupees 65 crores) available to researchers.
From the three institutitons – The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani and La Trobe University – 50 students will be selected to pursue research on a problem related to the Smart City initiative from the Government of India.
Each student will have a mentor from their institute and a mentor from La Trobe.
Within the broader scope of La Trobe ‘Smart Cities’, the institutes have identified 10 core areas of research heritage including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), cultural heritage and cybersecurity among other areas.
La Trobe ‘Smart Cities’ research fund of £7.5 million
There is a fund of £7.5 million (Indian Rupees 65 crores) that has been earmarked by the three institutes for research within the programme and a total of 12 corporate players have been involved as ‘industry champions’ for further contribution and mentorships.
John Dewar, Vice Chancellor of La Trobe University, told Indian Express that La Trobe ‘Smart Cities’ in India is a community-driven project and the students will solve the problems of a smart city. This also includes working closely with industry and people, who are the end-users of the research.
Problem solving at the centre of La Trobe ‘Smart Cities’ programme
The academics involved have stated that the research will be heavily driven by the given problem, with a heavy focus on making cities smarter, sustainable and liveable.
Dewar states that the focus would be on citizens and the impact of technology on them.
One area that Dewar drew on was the example of driverless or automated cars. He stated that creating awareness among people is a major task.
It is for this reason that non-engineering subjects such as culture and heritage are part of the 10 core areas identified for research under the joint PhD programme.
Those interested in working under the project will have to apply at the respective Indian institutes, who will advertise for recruitment soon. Students and faculty will be matched based on common interests.
Photo: BITS Pilani
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