AMHERST, Mass. – A new memorandum of understanding between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) in Rohtak, Haryana, India, extends collaboration between the two institutions that has resulted in several faculty exchanges and research projects. The memorandum was signed last week during a 12-day trip to India by UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy and a small delegation of faculty and university officials.
Professor Om Parkash Dhankher, a researcher in plant biotechnology at UMass, said that the collaboration between the two universities has been fruitful with researchers from India coming to UMass to conduct research and teach. Dhankher also has visited MDU several times in the past few years to deliver lectures and seminars on crop improvement.
Under the new agreement, Dhankher said that MDU has expressed interest in expanding the scope of research, along with undertaking some joint research projects and bilateral funding activities in areas of mutual interest including biotechnology, environmental sciences, life sciences, sports management, hotel and tourism management and education.
Also, the Indian government recently launched several programs to send more than 1,000 young faculty, postdoctoral researchers and Ph.D. students each year to study and conduct research in the U.S. for up to two years. Dhankher said UMass would like the chance to attract and work with these young researchers. He said that MDU is an up-and-coming university and the fastest-growing in the New Delhi region, making it an attractive partner to UMass.
Joint research between the two universities has focused mostly on plants and climate change, industrial crops and products, and plant biology. The research has also spurred books on plant biotechnology and genetic manipulation in plants to mitigate climate change.
Also under the agreement, there will be the opportunity for joint supervision of graduate and Ph.D. students, which will benefit these students by giving them access to world-class facilities and faculty for their research projects.