Georgia Tech revives city plan

Georgia Tech revives city plan
Nod For Foreign Universities Bill Raises Its Hopes To Set Up Campus In Hyd
Nikhila Henry | TNN

Hyderabad: The Foreign Educational Institutions Bill, which was cleared by the Union cabinet a week ago, has brought some hope to Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Atlanta, which had plans of setting up an off shore campus near the city as early as 2007. In fact, the institute has already come up with a time-frame to start its India operations in the city, which would be in July-August this year. Authorities have come up with a two-phased developmental plan on research and development and pure academics.
The institute authorities had sent across a rough outline of their campus development plan to the state’s higher education department and discussed it with Sreedhar Babu, minister for higher education, K C Reddy, chairman, Andhra Pradesh State Council of Higher Education (APSCHE) in November 2009.
The authorities told TOI that the operations of its research and development (R&D) wing would start with the collaboration of several players from the country’s academia and industry.
“We are strongly committed to our goal of starting operations in Hyderabad. We are currently in the process of signing MoUs with leading companies in IT and energy and gas exploration areas of research,” said the spokesperson of the institute. He said that they were encouraged by the vision behind the foreign university Bill and ready to start their academic activity as soon as possible.
A premier institute of technology in the US, Georgia Tech had plans of setting up one of its offshore campuses in India and had been scouting for a suitable place since 2004. In 2007, an MoU was signed between officials of the university and the higher education department to set up a campus on 250 acres of government land at Mucherla village of Ranga Reddy district. While the land was identified and acquired for the purpose in March 2009, no response came from the university authorities after that. The government had even sent a letter of enquiry to the university heads on November 17, 2009 asking them to clarify whether they were interested in the project or not. In their response, the institute authorities said that they would first set up their research base.
Wipro and Infosys, which have set up R&D bases in the Atlanta campus of Georgia Tech, are expected to set up their labs in its India campus as well.
While the infrastructure will come up on the land allotted to the university,a full-fledged campus is likely to come up only in 2011 academic year.
The institute authorities admitted that they had to go slow on the project due to “economic recession” and “uncertainty” regarding the foreign university Bill”.
According to the institute authorities, the research centres will focus on developing “small but high quality programmes”. “The research will focus on cloud computing, gas exploration, climate prediction, power distribution and renewable energy”. The university is expected to be helped by local industries and research institutes in these activities.
But higher education officials said that the university had not yet bought the 250 acres the state government acquired for it. However, the institute said that the faculty and students of Atlanta campus are expected to reach the country in the next few months to flag off the research and development activities.