From Classroom to real-life science: the ICBA-BITS Pilani, Dubai collaboration
BITS Pilani, Dubai Campus (BPDC) is the offshore site of the top-ranking private Indian university, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani. Its location in Dubai International Academic City, which is adjacent to ICBA’s research farm and headquarters, has proven a boon for a research collaboration between the two institutions.In 2009, BPDC signed a MoU with ICBA to collaborate in emerging areas of science such as biotechnology towards improving agricultural productivity. As part of the MoU, 13 undergraduate students from BPDC worked on Practice School (PS) projects under the supervision of ICBA scientists, applying their classroom knowledge to real-life situation/find solutions to problems in saline agriculture. The joint work has benefited both the institutions and resulted in some joint publications.The MoU which expired on 9th October this year has been renewed for a period of 3 years to pursue collaborative research in the areas of mutual interests. Professor R. K. Mittal (Director, BPDC) accompanied by Professor G. Vijaya (Dean, Research and Consultancy), Professor D. J. Shariff (Dean, Instruction Division) and Dr Neeru Sood (Head, Biotechnology Department) visited ICBA and signed the MoU on 29th November 2012. The MoU, besides facilitating BDPC students undertake their PS program at ICBA, allows sharing of the laboratory and field facilities of the two institutions, permits ICBA staff to pursue Masters and PhD programs in Biotechnology at BDPC, and enables participation of ICBA Scientists in the academic pursuits at BPDC as Adjunct Professors.