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FRIENDSHIP Project aims to contribute to the further development in the educational and research activities of IITH through the world-class research network between IITH and higher education institutions & industrial clusters of Japan, whereby both can establish educational and research excellence in the field of science, technology and engineering in the future.

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Back Ground

India is realizing tremendous economic growth in recent years with more than 8% annually. Human resources particularly in science and technology is key to sustain and accelerate Indian development. Establishment of first Indian Institute of Technology (lIT) at Kharagpur in 1951 made a historical beginning of high quality institution of technology, followed by six other IITs, at Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati and Roorkee.

Encouraged by the success story of IITs, and in order to meet the pressing need of more high quality graduates, the Government of India (GOI) has established from 2008-09, eight new IITs, at Hyderabad, Indore, Gandhinagar, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Jodhpur, Ropar and Mandi with aiming at further socioeconomic development and meeting expectation from industrial sectors.

Based on the commitment in August 2007 between both Prime Ministers of India and Japan, collaboration between lIT Hyderabad (IITH) and Japan has started. This collaboration will assist IITH for research and studies in identified areas, Construction of certain buildings and purchase of identified equipment for high-end research. There shall be intensive exchange of human resource at various levels by receiving guest lecturers and scholarships for the students.

Besides the ODA Loan, it is proposed that the Government of Japan (GOJ) will contribute substantial amount as grant for faculties and students for pursuing joint research by receiving Scholarship for Japanese Universities. It is envisaged that this grant is crucial to develop innovative technologies and do cutting edge research at the frontiers of science and technology. Moreover, personal interaction at various levels of faculties, industry experts and students, shall cooperatively help develop tremendous intellectual capital.

As a result of promise for grant assistance “The Project for Future Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad to Enhance Network Development with Scholarship of Japan” (FRIENDSHIP Project) was initiated from 2nd January 2012 for a period of 8 years till 31st of March 2020. Now, JICA-FRIENDSHIP Scholarship Program has been decided to extend to 31st of March 2024.

Proposed Purpose & Main Activities

The overall goal of the Project is to contribute to the further development in the educational and research activities of IITH through the world-class research network between IITH and higher education institutions & industrial clusters of Japan, whereby both can establish educational and research excellence in the field of science, technology and engineering in the future.

Academic experts from both countries identified the following five areas where India’s needs match Japan’s strengths.
(1) Environment & Energy
(2) Digital Communication
(3) Design & Manufacturing
(4) Nano-technology & Nano-science
(5) Civil Engineering

The purpose of the Project is to enhance research network between IITH and first rate higher education institutions & industrial clusters of Japan through the interaction of human resource in educational and research activities between IITH and Japan and also:

(1) To offer the scholarship programme for IITH graduates to study for PhD degree (Including Master’s, if necessary) in Japanese universities, in the field of science, technology and engineering,
(2) To promote the interaction in human resource of educational and research activities between IITH and Japanese first rate higher education institutions through the fellowship programme,
(3) To promote the interaction in human resource of educational and research activities between IITH and Japanese industrial clusters through the fellowship programme.

The expected output from the above activities are that:
(1) IITH graduates with Japanese PhD degree, faculties and researchers would contribute to educational and research activities,
(2) Establishment of interactive relationship between the first rate higher education Institutions of Japan and IITH,
(3) Establishment of interactive relationship between industrial clusters of Japan and IITH.

Activities carried out

As part of the proposed activities of the project, the following activities have been carried out during the past 5 years from the commencement of the project.

Academic Exchange:
The most eminent personality in the field of science & Technology in Japan, Prof. Anzai, who is President of JSPS and also President of Japanese Advisory Committee on IIT Hyderabad has visited IITH and interacted with Director, faculties, deans, Researchers and students to understand the requirement of IIT Hyderabad and has extended his full cooperation both as President of Japanese advisory committee and also JSPS in furthering high grade research at IITH. Another eminent personality who visited IITH is Prof. Jun Murai also known as “Father of Japanese Internet”. He visited IITH in 2013 and has identified the area of “Digital Fabrication” as the research area where he would like to contribute to IITH. He revisited IITH in August 2017 as a chief guest speaker for IITH Convocation 2017.

Many workshops/ lectures and few seminars have beeen conducted coinciding with the visit of professors and researchers from various Universities of Japan.  Also, IITH signed MOU with 3 Japanese Universities which are The University of Tokyo, Ritsumeikan University and Osaka University in the first 2 years. Such efforts have continued and the number of affiliated unibersities is 11 as of March 2017. The list of univeristies is here.

In October 2013, a mission with 12 members headed by Director, IITH, Prof. U.B.Desai visited 7 Universities in Japan to further the collaboration in the field of research, academics and related activities. Apart from the mission which went along with Director, IITH individually about 20 IITH faculty have visited during F.Y.2013-2014 their research counterparts or visited various universities designated to find research counterparts to further their research activities. The result of this activity was a huge success leading to some active research collaborations especially in the fields of Energy, material science, civil engineering and nanotechnology. Also about 7 faculties from Japanese Universities visited IITH for discussions to identify/ further research areas and activities.

Industry Collaboration

Project has received about 23 missions during the past 2 years spanning into various fields like Japanese Industry, Japanese Universities, Japanese University students, Japanese professors and also Japanese Media and Government officials.

Project has also supported workshops seminars organised by Japanese Industry in IITH for improving relationship between Japanese industries and IITH.

The Project also arranged meetings with several Japanese companies in India for interaction with IITH faculties to cooperate in the field of research and also to recruit IITH students in their organizations. The biggest achievement for the industry interaction is the meeting of several big Japanese companies operating in India with IITH facilities to facilitate introduction of IITH and various facilities available at IITH.

Presently IITH is in the process of building collaborations or have active collaborations started with several big Japanese companies (Names withheld for NDA).

JICA-FRIENDSHIP Scholarship Program

There have been 74 students dispatched to masters/Ph.D. Programs in prestigious Japanese universities since 2013. The program has been popular year by year and in 2017, the biggest number of 24 IITH graduates were admitted to Tohoku University, the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Osaka University, and so on.

The project has organized Japanese Academic Fair in the month of October since 2013 to promote Japanese Universities to IITH students and also to announce scholarships to IITH students. This event has been a huge success with about 300 + students and faculty. The Fair includes participating and sharing their views and inquiries with the university booths installed, interacting with the students who are now studying in Japan on JICA scholarship and working in Japan after obtaining a degree through the scholarship and also learning from the poster session organized at the event.

Future Activities

After the completion of the initial 3 years of the project, IITH and Project has been able to identify key areas where the project activity needs to be concentrated and has devised a plan of action for the next 5 years to achieve the final goal set for the project. Some of the key activities planned include strengthening human resource network between IITh and Japanese Universities by way of encouraging them to visit each other more frequently , organize joint workshops and seminars at both IITH or in Japan, and in the form of special events, conferences, seminars for IITH to interact with Japanese companies and invite them to IITH and encourage Japanese companies to have academic and research collaboration with IITH and also recruit IITH graduates in Japanese companies. These kind of activities will leverage the understanding between IITH and Japanese companies and pave way for successful cooperation for mutual benefit.

Organizing Japanese Academic and Industry fairs at IITH to provide a platform for Japanese Universities to advertise their courses for IITH students and also Japanese companies to interact with students and faculty to understand each other better and identify mutually interested areas for cooperation.

Organizing Human Resource Forum events in Japan and India to promote IITH to Japanese companies and Media and create a platform for the JICA scholarship students presently studying in Japan and IITH graduates in India to find employment in Japan / Japanese companies.

Inviting eminent professors and researchers from Japan on the request of IITH to promote research in new technologies which would make IITH a world class research organization in a shorter span of time.