The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and UTS will establish the Rajiv Gandhi Visiting Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies, ICCR's first chair in Australia.
High Commissioner for India in Australia, Mrs Sujatha Singh, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the chair at a ceremony at UTS last week attended by the former President of India Dr Abdul Kalam and Consul-General of India Mr Amit Dasgupta.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne said that under the agreement UTS will appoint an Indian academic as a visiting professor for one semester a year over four years, with a new candidate being selected each year. It is expected the inaugural appointee will be selected by the end of 2011.
"We will be looking for both senior and up-and-coming, dynamic academics for whom this will be a great opportunity," Professor Milbourne said. "While at UTS they will contribute to research, scholarship, educational engagement and mentoring at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels."
Professor Milbourne said UTS was also pleased to announce the Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Doctoral Scholarship for Indian Students. To be advertised internationally, it will provide a full scholarship for an Indian student admitted to PhD in any faculty at UTS.
The scholarship is an initiative of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, which had also arranged for Dr Kalam to visit UTS.
In an announcement made in India, the ICCR said the Rajiv Gandhi Visiting Chair could be considered "a major step in the propagation of India related studies in Australia", fulfilling a larger mandate of "fostering and strengthening academic and cultural links."
At UTS the Indian Ocean and South Asia Research Network (IOSARN) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has been a prime mover in creating the chair.
IOSARN Director Associate Professor Devleena Ghosh said the research network would also gain a scholarship to support research on Indian Ocean topics.
"For the first three years the chair will be based in Arts and Social Sciences, with a focus in areas such as media and social inquiry, but there is scope at the end of the MoU for the position to move between faculties," Associate Professor Ghosh said.
"The chair is an opportunity to develop collaboration in research and teaching with perhaps several Indian universities over the course of the MoU and an important contribution by UTS to academic development."
Pictured in the main image above: UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Development) Professor William Purcell greet the former President of India Dr Abdul Kalam.