UCF-Madhya Pradesh State Sign Agreement for Research, Academic Cooperation


Dean of the College of Sciences and Interim Director of the India Center Dr. Michael Johnson announced that UCF and the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have signed an agreement to cooperate on a range of research, education, and sustainability projects. The memorandum of understanding agreement was the result of an April visit to Orlando by Madhya Pradesh Principal Secretary Vivek Aggarwal.

Aggarwal’s visit aimed at developing research opportunities, advancing smart city technology, and developing emerging energy technologies. In the course of four days, Aggarwal met with UCF faculty and researchers from several colleges. He also met with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County, and representatives of the Indian American Chamber of Commerce. He was joined by Tim Jetty, Indian Vice Consul General in Atlanta, and Dr. Kartikeya Singh of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

Aggarwal’s visit to UCF, and the MOU, open up new opportunities for UCF colleges and local government partners in Central Florida to collaborate with Madhya Pradesh, home to 75 million people. In addition to sustainability, Aggarwal and UCF officials also identified possible partnerships with his state’s leading universities, government entities, and cultural institutions in a number of fields. Madhya Pradesh is particularly interested in working on projects with the College of Sciences, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

“This partnership has a lot of potential and will provide benefits for UCF, the city of Orlando, and the state of Madhya Pradesh as it will facilitate collaboration in important areas of common interest,” said Kerstin Hamann, Ph.D., Pegasus Professor and Chair of the Political Science department, where the India Center is housed. “Building these kinds of partnerships with UCF, the community, and partners in India is an important goal of the India Center.”

As a next step, Dean Johnson will lead a UCF delegation to Madhya Pradesh in late October. After a brief stop in Delhi, the delegation will visit Indore, the state’s most populous city, and Bhopal, its capital. The five-person delegation includes individuals with a range of academic and business interests. The UCF team will be hosted by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minster Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Site visits include the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology in Bhopal and the Indian Institute of Technology Indore.

“Relationships are not built overnight, and the upcoming visit is an important step in making our partnership with Madhya Pradesh sustainable and beneficial. We want to convert the ideas identified in the MOU into tangible projects. This is a unique partnership, and promises to yield significant academic, business, and cultural benefits to UCF and Central Florida,” said David Dumke, Director of South Asia Initiatives, who will represent the UCF Department of Political Science on the trip.

In addition to the agreement with UCF, Madhya Pradesh is also negotiating an agreement with the City of Orlando on smart cities technology, and has discussed organizing teleconferencing events with Orange County. Also, an MOU between India’s National Institute of Solar Energy and UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center is in the process of being completed. Among other deliverables, under the agreement FSEC would provide training for NISE personnel and engage in collaborative research.

The India Center at UCF gives credit to Dr. Singh of the CSIS for helping build the partnership between UCF and Madhya Pradesh. Singh, who has visited Orlando twice this year as a guest of the India Center, was instrumental in organizing Aggarwal’s April visit. He believes the UCF-Madhya Pradesh partnership is likely to be a model for future U.S. university and local government partnerships with India.


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