The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, BITS Pilani and Australia-based La Trobe have joined hands to form ‘Asian Smart Cities Research and Innovation Network’. A total of 50 students from all three institutes will be selected to pursue research on a problem related to the Smart City initiative of the government of India. Each student will be mentored by faculty from their respective institute and a mentor from La Trobe.
The institutes have identified 10 core areas of research including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), cultural heritage, cybersecurity among others. A fund of Rs 65 crore has been earmarked by the three institutes for research under the programme, while 12 corporate players have been roped in as ‘industry champions’ for further contribution and mentorships.
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A total of 70 researchers cum academicians from the three network institutes will mentor the students. Talking to indianexpress.com, Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe, John Dewar, informed that it is a community-driven project and the students will solve the problems of a smart city. This also includes working closely with industry and people, who are the end-users of the research.
The academicians claim that research will be problem-driven and focus on making the cities smarter, sustainable and liveable. The focus, said Dewar, would be on citizens and the impact of technology on them. Citing an example of driverless or automated cars, he stated that creating awareness among people is a major task. Hence, non-engineering subjects such as culture and heritage are part of the 10 core areas identified for research under the joint PhD programme.
Those who wish to work under the project will have to apply at respective Indian institutes, which will be releasing advertisements soon. Students and faculty with common interests will be matched so they can work together.