VC builds bridges with India

Catherine Watts 25 January 2008

Cambridge Vice Chancellor, Professor Alison Richard has just returned from a two-week tour of India.

Accompanied by more than 20 senior colleagues, Professor Richard travelled to New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai, in order to both forge and strengthen Cambridge’s links with the country.

Professor Richard visited senior officials from India’s private and public sector, as well as various Indian universities and Cambridge graduates.

On the visit, a new business professorship – the Jawaharlal Nehru Professorship of Indian Business and Enterprise – was launched.

The Professorship has been facilitated by £3.2 million of funding from the Indian government, whose multi-million donation honoured the centenary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s matriculation at Trinity College.

Pandit Nehru studied Natural Sciences, before going on to be India’s first prime minister.

The Jawaharlal Professor will be responsible for promoting understanding of the Indian economy, and will be established as head of a special Cambridge Centre for Indian Business at the Judge Business School on Trumpington Street.

The Centre’s creation was announced jointly with the Professorship, and has been financed with an initial £550,000 donation from BP.

The BP group’s funding will provide a scholarship to a top graduate working closely with the recently created chair.

The name of the Jawaharlal Nehru Professor will be announced in due course.

On announcing the new position, the Vice Chancellor said: “This Professorship reflects the unprecedented world interest and excitement in the new models of business being generated in India. The Chair also affirms and strengthens Cambridge’s rich links with India, historically, today and far into the future.

“We are deeply grateful to the Government of India for endowing this Chair, and we look forward to strengthening our ties with India even more.”

Professor Richard described her trip to India as “a truly exhilirating visit”.

She said, “I was inspired by the experience we had, by the close relationships between collaborating academics in Cambridge and India, and by the opportunities to do more together.

“I was moved by the enthusiasm of Cambridge alumni wherever we went, and excited by the possibility of working more closely with industrialists, entrepreneurs, and India’s emerging innovation ecosystems.

“It has illuminated a rich array of partnerships and collaborations between Cambridge people and Indian academic and industrial partners and has opened up opportunities to build our relationships still further.”

Jonathan Laurence

Catherine Watts