Global leaders to gather in St. Louis to strengthen U.S.-India connection around innovation and education

Washington University in St. Louis-Indian Institute of Technology Bombay will launch Corporate Alliance to address global issues and train next-generation workforce

Leaders from two of the world’s top research universities and several major international corporations will gather in St. Louis Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19-20, for the Washington University in St. Louis-Indian Institute of Technology Bombay Corporate Conclave, aimed at strengthening the U.S.-India connection around innovation and education, particularly in addressing pressing global issues.

During the meeting, the universities will announce the launch of the WUSTL-IITB Corporate Alliance. The objective of the alliance is to perform cutting-edge research of relevance to industry, government and society and to train the next generation of talented employees and leaders.

“While we cannot know the challenges the world will be facing in the years to come, we do know for sure that collaboration across national boundaries and academic disciplines will play a monumental role in addressing the world’s most pressing and important issues,” said WUSTL Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “Networks of thoughtful, innovative scientists and professionals like this Corporate Alliance are the foundation for this collaborative, global approach.”

During the conclave, academic and business leaders will focus on entrepreneurship and innovation; executive education; and advanced science and technology for the future of Asia. Participants will be identifying collaborative areas of research and future projects related to these topics.

“Innovation, entrepreneurship and advanced science and technology will be essential to tackle and solve the global challenges we face,” said Pratim Biswas, PhD, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Professor and chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

“Transdisciplinary approaches will be essential for developing sustainable solutions that will be enabled by the alliance that is being launched.” Biswas is the lead conclave organizer and WUSTL McDonnell Academy ambassador to IITB.

A highlight of the conclave will be a talk by Nirupama Rao, Indian ambassador to the U.S., on “India and U.S. Relations.”

According to Bharat Desai, chairman and co-founder of multinational information technology firm Syntel, industry and academia both have important roles to play in developing tomorrow’s business leaders. “At Syntel, we believe it’s important to have a strong partnership with academic institutions. Working with universities enables businesses to attract the best and brightest employees as well as to develop and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

This meeting follows the successful Corporate Leaders Conclave held in Mumbai in March, where the group began to make significant strides in the areas of collaboration and research. Through the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership (MAGEEP), faculty from the two institutions have collaborated on more than 25 projects.

Some of the important initiatives underway through the alliance and MAGEEP include:

  • Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the U.S. (SERIIUS) – SERIIUS is a $62 million venture jointly funded by the government of India, the U.S. Department of Energy and global corporations. SERIIUS is aimed at accelerating the development of solar electric technologies and making them more cost-effective.
  • Joint Executive MBA program between IIT Bombay and Washington University – Believed to be the first EMBA program delivered jointly in India and the U.S. by institutions based in both countries, the goal of the new program will be to educate a significant number of senior executive graduates who are making a difference in their businesses and their countries in a direct and observable way.
  • Technology Park near Mumbai – Initial discussions around a new technology park have focused on creation of a “Climate Innovation Center” that promotes corporate – university collaborations to address challenges of climate change that will impact industry and society.

“Washington University in St. Louis is honored to host this meeting of distinguished leaders from India and the United States, and we are proud of the important and ever-growing relationship between Washington University and the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, two of the world’s great universities,” Wrighton said.

For a full schedule of sessions and speakers, visit here.

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