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IIT-Madras goes virtual to lure int’l research scholars

NEW DELHI: Alexander Daniel Corral Ward, a research scholar from the University of New South Wales in Australia has been pursuing research work at IIT-Madras for past two months, albeit virtually. He is part of the institute’s key programme to attract international students for research interships , which has been made completely online to overcome travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 suitation.

The Global Research Internship in Engineering, Science, Humanities and Management (GRIESHMA) was launched in 2019 by the office of global engagement, IIT-Madras, to attract research scholars from abroad, offering them six to eight weeks of paid internship on campus. Converted now to ‘e-GRIESHMA,’ this research internship programme is being offered completely online.

Sharing his experience Ward said: “We (me and the faculty) have been meeting virtually on a weekly basis and the work has involved a lot of reading and research as well as some technical tasks. I have learnt a lot about different types of deep learning models and their applications in a computational biology context.. So far the project is really interesting and I think I will learn a lot.”

Ward is working with professor Nirav Bhatt, department of biotechnology, IIT-Madras, on a research project in Computational Biology. Bhatt said: “e-GRIESHMA is a good programme to interact with international undergraduate students. Ward and I had interacted through google meet platform every 8-10 days to discuss a project in the area of AI for prediction of biological properties.”

According to IIT-Madras, the programme has generated a lot of interest among research students from countries as diverse as Australia and Nepal. The programme can extend up to 12 weeks and students are awarded a certificate on completion.

Four research scholars from Australia and Nepal have already been accepted into the programme for the July-November 2020 Semester. The institute is planning to attract around 20 international scholars for the e-GRIESHMA programme by July 2021. Highlighting the internationalisation initiatives of IIT-Madras, Prof Raghunathan Rengaswamy, dean (global engagement), said: “The office of global engagement is committed to internationalisation efforts through a variety of initiatives targeted at different academic stakeholders.”