October 2020

Director's Corner...

Journey continues….

August and September were quite significant on a few fronts as Institutions all across the globe planned to start fall sessions, keeping in mind the health and safety for everyone. I believe it is a collective top priority for all of us to embrace the radical changes in academics and research, and simultaneously altered administrative and operational procedures. New pedagogies are being developed to overcome the jolt of a pandemic and to continue teaching -learning at all levels.

At SICI, we began the assessment process of grant applications/proposals received post our programme announcement, followed by a sea of new queries on possibility of mobility between India and Canada, and many other aspects that were unique to this year’s programming due to the Pandemic. Fortunately, we managed to enforce ‘new normal’ ways of research technics which are working fine for now, but certainly are quite restrictive in its approach and outcome. We, including our fellows, are navigating through these changes and moving swiftly to the next phases.  Although, this demanded a lot of effort to plan and lay things out for our current SICI fellows as well for the new applicants.


On the other fronts, we continued to collaborate with stakeholders and member institutions to deliberate on the most relevant topics through SICI’s Indian Independence Day webinar series. We completed four webinars, featuring experts from India and Canada. This exercise and engagement with various entities have helped us to identify themes and opportunities that resonate most with the faculty and students. Many thanks to all the speakers who contributed to the success of these webinar series!


Even though the pandemic continues to challenge institutions and systems, it is heartening to see many organizations and institutions coming forward with interesting and informative forums on academic and scientific research. Thanks to social media, it enlightens me every day about how well our member institutions are creating customized virtual content for the academic and research fraternity, discussing about the wonderful discoveries and innovations in the areas like medicine and artificial Intelligence, and adding value to the community at large. This is a revolution to me, so much knowledge dissemination and exchange happening at a lightning speed! Adding to the ongoing enthusiasm is a unique, month-long collaborative initiative called VAIBHAV Summit (Oct 2-31) undertaken by the Government of India that brings Indian overseas and resident academicians/scientists create an ecosystem in knowledge and innovation. Here is another chance for us to to leverage the expertise for solving emerging challenges in the world such as climate change, carbon emission and so on and so forth. Read more about the summit in the following pages of Engage.


I re-emphasize, that SICI’s Executive Council and the administration are working tirelessly to facilitate and support governments, stakeholders and its member institutions, remotely. Please reach out to us if you have questions or concerns. It is important that we don’t lose the sight of our goals even when the new reality is full of changes and uncertainties of all kinds.


All the best!

Thank you & please stay safe!                           
Prachi Kaul, PhD
Twitter: @kaul_prachi

What's On?
In an attempt to popularise various grants and programmes of SICI, on August 6, 2020, University of Mumbai's (UoM) SICI University Centre in collaboration with the Internal Quality Assurance Cell organized a webinar on "International Research Grants & Fellowships" for its faculty and research students. Dr Prachi Kaul was invited to this webinar along with the SICI awardees of UoM to give insights into SICI programmes and Fellowship opportunities.
On August 25, 2020, a virtual meeting on "Travel & Visa Guidelines/Policies" was organized for Indian and Canadian scholars of SICI to discuss information related to travel & visa during the pandemic. The meeting was followed by a session allowing scholars to get all their queries answered in detail by the SICI officials.

Following the success of Canada Day webinar series in the month of July 2020, SICI hosted another series marking Indian Independence Day celebrations which spanned over a month starting August 15. The first webinar under this series was organized on August 27 in which Dr Ramgopal Rao, Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, was the keynote speaker. The webinar entitled ‘Future of Technology and Innovation’, aimed at discussing research and innovation ecosystems in India and Canada and the knowledge generation thereof, was attended by faculty, students and friends of SICI.
With the launch of new National Education Policy (NEP) in July, SICI hosted another thought provoking discussion on "National Education Policy 2020: Opportunities, Challenges & Way Forward". The session was chaired by Dr Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), along with Dr Janaka Ruwanpura, Vice-Provost, International, University of Calgary, Canada who was the special speaker to discuss about the transformational changes proposed by NEP with a special emphasis and focus on internationalisation and collaboration with Canadian institutions of higher learning.

On August 7, 2020, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi delivered the inaugural address at a virtual conclave on “Transformational Reforms in Higher Education under the National Education Policy 2020”. The conclave was organized by the Ministry of Education in association with University Grants Commission. The Hon'ble PM said that the Indian education system until now had been focused on 'what to think', however, the new NEP 2020 is aimed to emphasize on 'how to think'. He also said that NEP's objective is to ensure that the current and next generation are future ready and the newly launched NEP, thus, will act as a basis for founding New India in the 21st century. In attendance of the conclave were Hon'ble Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Union Minister of Education, Shri Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Communications, members from the committee for Draft NEP along with eminent academicians and scientists.

On August 20, 2020, Dr Deep Saini (above), President & Vice-Chancellor, Dalhousie University, Canada and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) signed three partnership agreements in Agricultural Plant Science enabling dual degree & Joint Ph.D articulation programme. Witnessing SICI's two member institutions signing the MoU, Dr Prachi Kaul said "It's a pleasure to witness the MoU signing today. Its a beginning of the  collaborative relationship based on a collective commitment."
The University of Alberta (UAlberta) and IIT Madras held a virtual workshop on August 26, 2020 to enhance research collaborations between faculty members in preparation for the establishment of a Joint Doctoral Degree Program (JDP). The workshop, organized with help from UAlberta’s Engage India: Association of Professors, featured parallel sessions on Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, and Humanities & Social Sciences. 27 researchers in total from UAlberta and IIT Madras participated in the workshop. In a notable development, UAlberta has also r e cen tly signed agreements for JDPs with IITs Bombay, Kharagpur and Roorkee. These JDPs are aimed at creating a two-way flow for academic exchange, giving participating UAlberta and IIT students the chance to undertake research at the partner institution for six months up to a year.

October 2 - 31, 2020

The month-long Vaibhav Summit aims to give an impetus to the objectives of Atal Innovation Mission by leveraging the collaborative experience and deep expertise of International and Indian subject experts. The summit seeks active support and ideation from Indian Diaspora for developing skills of Indian aspirants in alignment with the New Educational Policy.

Research Publications
In Other News...

Dr. Douglas Peers, Professor of History, has been appointed the University of Waterloo’s representative to the Board, replacing Dr Doris Jakobsch who is stepping down after many years of dedicated service. The University of Waterloo and SICI are grateful to Dr Jakobsch for her commitment and for her efforts at building and strengthening academic ties between India and Canada.

Dr Shanthi Johnson, Dean, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, has been recognised as one of the top 25 immigrants in Canada. Congratulations, Dr Johnson!

Read more

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) instructor explores the Sikh view on happiness | Read more


New e-book tackles relationship violence pandemic | Read more

The University of Alberta and IIT Kharagpur co-host e-Symposium on Gandhian thoughts & philosophy

  Read more

Humour traditions in Australia and Canada; Book editors - Dr B Hariharan & Dr Suja Kurup P L

Read more

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