Disconnect between academia and industry is often cited as a key challenge in attracting funds. While a Right to Information (RTI) query on funds received by Mumbai University from state and other agencies from 2005-2006 to 2010-2011 had shown that the university has a lot of catching up to do as far as connecting with industry and alumni is concerned,recent efforts have resulted in close to Rs 50 crore investment by alumni/industry in the past two years.
As per the data pertaining to the past two years,the university has received Rs 49.58 crore from industry,alumni and sources other than the state/Central governments till September 21,2012. For instance,while it received Rs 4.20 crore from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for restoration of Rajabai Tower and Rs 1.24 crore from Reliance for development of sports,alumnus Asit Koticha gifted Rs 35 crore to the university.
However,the industry/alumni contribution is still not significant as compared to the overall funds received or sanctioned till September 2012,amounting to Rs 170.74 crore. This implies,that the university has received the major chunk – Rs 121.16 crore – from state and Central agencies.
Contribution from the industrial sector is small across academic institutes in the country. We are taking initiatives to reach out to the industry and our former students to attract funds for various projects. Substantial increase in industry/alumni funding will take time and considerable effort, said an official from Mumbai University.
As per information received under RTI last year,funds received by Mumbai University from Indian industries/corporates during 2005-06 was a meagre Rs 80,538. The figures for other years were not encouraging either: it varied from Rs 15,764 in 2006-07 to Rs 12.5 lakh in 2008-09 from industries. The highest that the university received from the industry or corporate sector from 2005-06 to 2010-11 was in 2009-10,which amounted to over Rs 26 lakh. Both in 2007-08 and 2010-11,the university had received zero funds from the industry. Similarly,for a university with illustrious former students,the alumni fund had a meagre Rs 70,000 till August 2010.
Many former students of the university have done well in life and one expected that they would help the institution. Sadly,that has not happened for quite some time. However,things have started looking up in the past two years. We are also trying to be more structured in our approach for attracting funds from agencies other than the government. However,we dont just want money from our alumni,we want their suggestions too, said another university official.