The University of Illinois (US) is open to the idea of setting up a campus in Maharashtra/India, said Robert Easter, chancellor and provost of the university.
He was speaking during an event, which saw the US university signing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with Mumbai university, Pune university, Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Institute of Chemical Technology and College of Engineering, Pune. It is a tripartite agreement with the state government as a facilitator.
“We haven’t ruled out having a campus in India in the future. We will have to see what opportunities it brings us. We have also been encouraged (by Maharashtra) to explore such an option,” said Easter.
The MoUs, signed on Friday, will facilitate collaboration in areas such as research, student and faculty exchanges. “It is an umbrella agreement to create a platform for collaboration in areas such as food agriculture, engineering, business and humanities,” said Easter.
“We want our association with Illinois to go beyond exchange programmes and hopefully soon have them set up a campus here,” said Mahesh Pathak, secretary, higher and technical education.
Currently, while faculty from Illinois are engaged with faculty in India on specific projects, the association will create institutional-level collaborations.
“India’s an emerging economy and our students can benefit a lot by coming here. A typical student exchange programme at our university implies spending a year or one semester at the partner institute. It could also mean short, four-week study tours,” Easter said.
Around 500 graduates and 300 undergraduates from India are presently studying at Illinois.
The specific details of the partnerships are yet to be worked out. A delegation from Illinois is expected to visit Maharashtra in the next three months to discuss details.