Lab Canada

U of T and Indian Institute of Science to collaborate

Toronto, ON – Increased collaborations on scientific research, entrepreneurship activities and educational opportunities are being planned through a new memorandum of understanding signed by the University of Toronto and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, India.

As a premier research institute in India with world-class faculty, the IISc is a natural partner for U of T, said Professor Cynthia Goh, director of U of T’s Impact Centre.

The key aspects of the agreement include joint support for entrepreneurship activities, including co-incubating companies, mutual technical and business advisory services and cross-training student entrepreneurs.

“The mutual interest in transforming fundamental scientific breakthroughs into new products, companies and benefits to society was a significant draw for both parties in entering into this collaboration,” said Goh. “We are excited to be able to work with an institution that produces an incredible amount of excellent new knowledge and counts the brightest scientists in India among their students, alumni and faculty.”

“This arrangement between the University of Toronto and the Indian Institute of Science brings together some of the work’s most innovative researchers with an entrepreneurial focus and reflects the University of Toronto’s growing partnerships in India,” said Judith Wolfson, vice-president of the U of T’s University Relations.

This agreement establishes a more formal framework for various joint activities that are already in progress. It emerged last summer during events hosted by the IISc as a part of an Impact Centre-led mission to India funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade under its Going Global program.

One immediate outcome was a research proposal by Richard McAloney, director of technology management at the Impact Centre, with Professor Utpal Tatu from the Department of Biochemistry, IISc as a partner. This collaboration addressed developing a Canadian optics-based biosensing technology to detect antibiotic-resistant pathogens, a key challenge in India, and was subsequently funded through a Stars of Global Health grant awarded to McAloney by Grand Challenges Canada.

“The University of Toronto’s commercialization focus is unique. The Impact Centre at U of T is training students to translate scientific knowledge generated as benefits to society through entrepreneurship education and commercialization support. The IISc is looking forward to implementing some of these strategies,” said Professor N. Balakrishnan, associate director of IISc. Both institutions are formulating avenues to facilitate student mobility to encourage global entrepreneurship.  

Reported by Scott McAuley, Impact Centre, University of Toronto