The California-based Motwani Jadeja Foundation has launched a $30-million Motwani Institute for Thought Leadership in Innovation (MITLI) to facilitate academic exchange between Stanford and Indian institutions of higher learning.
“As the first step, we will start a programme that would help young, bright Indian faculty members specialising in next-generation technologies in information technology and biotechnology spend a year or two at Stanford, building relationships and expanding their frontiers,” Asha Jadeja Motwani, Chairperson, told BusinessLine.
“These scholars could be working in areas like augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence or big data,” she said.
The programme will be launched from next year and the first batch of Indian scholars will be arriving in Stanford by June 2019, Motwani, who was here to participate in the third edition of the TiE Global Summit, said.
The selected ones “will literally be the top minds in their respective fields” and can come either from premier institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) or any other academic institutions. “We already have a process in place,” Motwani said.
This will not only help them in better networking with Stanford faculty, but will also help push the frontiers of their research together with their students in India once they come back, she said. “My expectation is within a few years, there will be cross-fertilisation of minds,” she said. The institute is named after late Rajeev Motwani, former Stanford professor and angel investor, who had mentored Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. An internationally acclaimed computer expert and theoretician, late Motwani was the architect of Google’s algorithmic architecture. He was also an alumnus of IIT Kanpur
Apart from Stanford faculty, many Indian top scientists like Ashok Jhunjunwala of IIT Madras, Manindra Agrawal of IIT Kanpur, Sudhir Jain of IIT Gandhinagar and Rajen Jaswa, a US-based entrepreneur and a guest professor at IIT Gandhinagar, will be involved in spotting the talent.
MITLI also plans to get US students, mostly undergraduates, to spend time with Indian universities and non-governmental organistions. “We plan to support 30 to 100 US students,Motwani said. Among some of the institutions that have agreed to host these students are Ashoka University, IIT Gandhinagar and CEPT University in Ahmedabad.