A shining example of India’s soft power in Global Education leadership
Australian education leaders are working very hard to come up with solutions for ever evolving demands in the ever evolving world of education. And there is no dearth of Australians of Indian descent who sit in positions of power in many prestigious universities and shouldering that responsibility. That makes it a matter of great pride not only for Australia to have these global leaders but also for India as India’s ambassadors offering huge potential resource to meet its many challenges in the coming years and decades. Professor Muthupandian Ashokkumar is one such Australian of Indian descent who has just been given the additional responsibility of directing and guiding Australia India Institute in the interim while a director is found.
Also currently Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor International (India) for the University of Melbourne, where he has responsibility for international strategy and relationships with India, Professor Muthupandian Ashokkumar took over as the Interim Director of the Australia India Institute effective on 1 December 2020.
Prof Ashokkumar will continue in that role concurrently.
Ashok is a great champion for engagement with India at the University. He helped to establish the Melbourne India Postgraduate Program (MIPP), Melbourne India Postgraduate Academy (MIPA) and the BSc Blended program, involving partner institutions across India.
Prof Ashokkumar is a great friend of the Aii and has been engaged with the Institute for many years. He will work closely with its staff and stakeholders while the search for a new Aii Director takes place. We look forward to working with Professor Muthupandian Ashokkumar (Ashok) during this transition period.
Participation in India’s Global Vaibhav Summit
Earlier Professor Muthupandian represented Australia at the Vaibhav Summit attended by global and Indian leaders in education, research and Development attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The VAIBHAV Summit is a collaborative initiative by S&T and Academic Organizations of India to enable deliberations on thought process, practices and R&D culture with a problem solving approach for well-defined objectives.
Speaking on the occasion, addressing the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Professor Muthupandian mooted two potential initiatives that “would put India at the forefront of Research and Higher Education”.
Emphasizing on ‘Research Excellence’ and ‘Higher Education Leadership’ Professor Muthupandian advocated for India establishing Centres of Excellence with global partners.
“Indian-origin academics, who are the experts in these research fields could bring their academic institutions as partners to these centres. This will help India to become the global leader in major research areas” he said.
He also spoke of partnership University of Melbourne has established with IISER-Pune and IISER-Tirupati.
“Such programs will provide globally-recognised degrees for Indian students within India and will also promote influx of international students to India for higher education studies”, he further added.
Professor Muthupandian told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would be ready to serve India if called upon.
“I also pledge that I am available to serve our Country in any capacity to promote India’s global leadership in research and higher education”, he concluded.
Professor Muthupandian Ashokkumar (Ashok) is a senior academic staff member of the School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne. He is currently the Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor International at the University of Melbourne. The major India Engagement projects he has established include Melbourne India Postgraduate Academy and the University of Melbourne Academy for Blended Learning & Teaching in collaboration with Indian academic institutions.
Ashok has made major contributions of applied sonochemistry to the Materials, Food and Dairy industry. Recent research (http://sono.chemistry.unimelb.edu.au/) also involves the ultrasonic synthesis of functional nano- and biomaterials for energy production, environmental remediation and diagnostic and therapeutic medicine.
He was the Deputy Director of an Australian Research Council Funded Industry Transformation Research Hub (ITRH; Unlocking the Food Value Chain: Australian food industry transformation for ASEAN markets; Industry Partner: Mondelez International). He is the Editor-in-Chief of Ultrasonics Sonochemistry, an international journal devoted to sonochemistry research with a Journal Impact Factor of 6.5.
He has edited/co-edited several books and special issues for journals; published ~440 refereed papers (H-Index: 67) in high impact international journals and books; and delivered over 200 invited/keynote/plenary lectures at international conferences and academic institutions.