Research partnership to address international energy challenges

9 September 2022

Agreement with Indian Institute of Technology Madras

A new agreement will see experts from Australia and India working together on renewable energy technologies that are robust, cost-effective and reliable.

The University of Sydney and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) have entered a research partnership to help address energy challenges facing nations across the world. Each institution will invest AU$50,000 a year in joint funding for up to four research projects.

The partnership will see experts from the two institutions working together to develop research and advance technology in fields related to energy. Researchers across disciplines, including science and engineering, will collaborate on areas such as energy storage and conversion, solar desalination and cold storage, photo and electrochemical energy, gas turbines, micro-grids and renewable energy systems.

The agreement was signed on 9 September at IIT Madras in Chennai by the University of Sydney’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott, IIT Madras Director, Professor V. Kamakoti and University of Sydney Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Emma Johnston, in the presence of Professor Raghunathan Rengaswamy, IIT Madras Dean (Global Engagement).

The best way to solve problems that affect the whole world is to bring together the brightest minds across nations.
Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Mark Scott

Professor Scott is in India to further strengthen the University of Sydney’s engagement with the nation and to participate in the Australia India Leadership Dialogue. He said the partnership with IIT Madras reflected the University’s commitment to India and the importance of international collaboration in solving global challenges.

“The best way to solve problems that affect the whole world is to bring together the brightest minds across nations,” he said.

“We’re delighted to be working with IIT Madras to tackle the urgent energy issues facing both Australia and India. Together, our researchers will examine crucial questions, such as how to decarbonise and provide affordable energy to remote communities. They will collaborate on renewable energy technologies that are robust, cost-effective and reliable.”

As well as supporting research and technological innovation, the partnership will provide opportunities for research students, as well as early- and mid-career researchers, giving them the chance to work internationally and develop global networks.

Highlighting the unique aspects of the collaboration, Professor Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement) at IIT Madras said: “IIT Madras is pleased to sign this agreement with the University of Sydney, which will enable deeper research collaborations between our universities.”

To support the development of joint research, the two universities will host shared conferences and workshops. An initial workshop took place in August, focusing on hydrogen technologies – crucial as the world looks to decarbonise the energy sector, industry and transport. Further workshops are scheduled for this year in research areas including solar energy and renewable energy management systems.

Professor Kondo-Francois Aguey-Zinsou from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Science said the two institutions’ shared strengths could accelerate the development of alternative technologies to benefit both India and Australia.

“There is no time to waste in finding solutions that will help us adapt to the impacts of climate change,” he said.

“The possibilities around the transition to clean energy systems are exciting. We can combine our thinking to develop truly sustainable solutions that can be rapidly adopted.”

About IIT Madras

Indian Institute of Technology Madras was established in 1959 by the Government of India as an Institute of National Importance. The activities of the Institute in various fields of science and technology are carried out in 16 academic departments and several advanced interdisciplinary research centres. The Institute offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs leading to B.Tech., M.Sc., M.B.A., M.Tech., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in a variety of specialisations. IIT Madras is a residential institute with more than 600 faculty and 9500 students. Students from 18 countries are enrolled. IIT Madras fosters an active entrepreneurial culture with strong curricular support and through the IITM Incubation Cell.

Recognised as an Institution of Eminence in 2019, IIT Madras has been ranked number one in the Overall Category for the fourth consecutive year in India Ranking 2022, released by the Indian Ministry of Education’s National Institutional Ranking Framework. The Institute has also been ranked number one in the Engineering Institutions category in the same rankings for seven consecutive years – from 2016 to 2022. It was judged the Top Innovative Institution in the country in Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) in 2019, 2020 and 2021. ARIIA Ranking was launched by the Innovation Cell of the Ministry of Education.

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Louise Schwartzkoff

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