Shah Rukh Khan La Trobe University PhD Scholarship awarded to an Indian female

Event Photograph

PhD research student Gopika Kottantharayil Bhasi, from  Kerala, was chosen from more than 800 Indian women and received the four-year scholarship to LaTrobe University at a ceremony in Mumbai attended by La Trobe Chancellor, The Honourable John Brumby AO.

Gopika will be joining La Trobe’s research team who are discovering new techniques to protect the world’s honey bee population from viruses, pollutants and declining diversity in flora. Gopika will research a field-deployable diagnostic test for honey bee viruses and with the aim of developing therapies to aid honey bee health.

“I admire Gopika’s dedication and determination. This scholarship will enable her to travel to La Trobe in Melbourne, Australia, where she will pursue her dreams of helping to improve India’s agriculture sector. I wish her well,” Mr Khan said.

A graduate from the University of Calicut, Gopika has a passion for animal health, having grown up in a farming family and researched the management of Asian elephants in Kerala. For the past year she has been managing her family’s poultry farm, while her father recovered from heart by-pass surgery. During this time Gopika researched the impacts of feed, water, diseases and climate on livestock for food production.

“It is highly appropriate that a scholarship created to recognise Mr Khan’s humanitarian and social justice work to inspire positive change in the world is now about to change Gopika’s life forever,” La Trobe Chancellor The Honourable John Brumbysaid.

“We are proud to be part of her story, and to contribute to advancing knowledge in her field,” he said.

In receiving the scholarship, Gopika said “she was honoured. I can’t wait to travel to La Trobe and start my studies,” .

“Through my research, I know I will be contributing to improving agricultural science in India. Protecting our honey bees is vital to food production and I’m so excited for the opportunity to be working with leading scientists conducting cutting-edge research,” Gopika said.

The AUD $200,000 (about 9.5 million Indian rupees) scholarship, announced in August 2019 when Mr Khan was conferred an Honorary Degree by La Trobe University to recognise his wide-ranging humanitarian work, including his establishment of the Meer Foundation to support and empower women who have survived acid attacks in India.


IIIT-Delhi organized Workshop on AI for Computational Social Systems


IIIT-Delhi organized a workshop on ‘AI for Computational Social Systems’ (ACSS 2020). In their campus under the leadership of Dr. Tanmoy Chakraborty, who is Assistant Professor and a Ramanujan Fellow of the Dept. of CSE in IIIT-Delhi.

The workshop commenced with a welcome note by the Director of IIIT Delhi, Prof. Ranjan Bose. The one-day workshop comprised of a series of talks by some of the most influential personalities from the industry, academia, and policymakers such as Preslav Nakov, Principal Scientist, Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU; Amir Javed Lecturer, Cardiff University; Sanjay Kumar Madria, Curators’ Distinguished Professor, Missouri University of Science and Technology; Rakesh M. Verma, Professor, University Of Houston; Amitava Das, Lead Scientist, Wipro AI Lab, Bangalore; Lipika Dey, Principal Scientist, TCS Innovation Labs; Shubhashis Sengupta, Managing Director And Technology Research Executive, Accenture; Subrat Panda, VP of AI And Data Sciences, Capillary Technologies; Morteza Saberi, Assistant Professor, School Of Information, Systems And Modelling, UTS, Sydney.

Speakers have also expressed their views and shared insights on topics such as Data Mining, Complex Networks, Social Computing, Natural Language Processing and Data-driven Cybersecurity. Some other significant issues like misinformation, the rise of fake content on social media, and computational sociolinguistics were also discussed at the workshop. To ignite the interest of students, a poster competition was also organised, followed by felicitation of the winners.

Professor Ranjan Bose, Director of IIIT-D, said, “Workshops like this play a crucial role in advancing the minds of budding engineers. Here, they get immense opportunities to discuss several innovative topics with industry leaders and other eminent personalities; these insights are very beneficial for students to excel in their respective domains. AI is all set to create wonders in the coming years, now imagine, how impactful it would be to the human race when combined with computer science, statistics, and the social sciences (Computational Social Systems). As educators, it’s our prime responsibility to guide students and help them steer towards success. We will continue to organise such workshops in the future as well.”

Prof. Tanmoy Chakraborty, Assistant Professor, IIIT-Delhi, said, “We, at Laboratory for Computational Social Systems (LCS2), aim to create an enriching environment for research in the domain of Computational Social Systems.  This field is of immense importance to our society, and we are working on solving problems related to hate speech, misinformation in social media, social network dynamics, inorganic activities in Online Social Media, and AI for education. We have received funding from both the Govt. of India (DST, SERB) and industry (Google, Wipro, IBM, TCS) to solve some of these problems. The tread of industry-academic collaboration is also gradually increasing. I hope that this workshop helped inspire students to work in this domain and gave them a platform to interact with some of the top minds in the field. It was great to see that our research is aligned to the agenda of NITI Aayog, an initiative taken by the Govt of India to empower citizens of India with advanced computational technology.”

Education Fair in Delhi with leading Irish institutes

Government of Ireland organized Education Fair at Shangri La’s – Eros Hotel.Delhi with leading Irish institutes. The fair saw leading Irish Institutes address, discuss programmes available, intakes, offer acceptance, campus life, accommodation, international student support, scholarships, culture, and respond to queries of over 250 students & parents in Delhi.

Ireland has a long history of welcoming international students and in recent years it has become one of the most preferred education destinations; as it renders a worthwhile future that assures an established career for all students. Talking about the fairs, Mr. Barry O’Driscoll, Senior Education Adviser, India – Education in Ireland said, “Through the education fair we aim to provide a transparent and delightful opportunity for the students to access end-to-end Irish education market under one roof. The fairs offer a broader percept on the courses, the job opportunities given post studies and various scholarships to interested students and help them make well-versed decisions about their education goals.”

“This year we also offered scholarships worth €3,000 each to two lucky students who attended the fair in Delhi!” adds Mr. O’Driscroll who was present at the fairs to have face-to-face interaction with the students.

In the recent years the most popular courses in Ireland are mechanical engineering, electronic engineering, biotechnology, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, data analytics, cyber security, accounting / finance and MBA with an increased level of interest in courses such as media, design, arts, social sciences, hospitality and hotel management.

A key advantage of studying in Ireland is that students can avail of up to two years ‘stay-back’ option after completing their course, at postgraduate level. This guarantees students the opportunity to remain in Ireland for a period of two years to seek employment in dynamic sectors such as ICT, biopharma, engineering, medical devices, food science and financial services. The possibility of gaining valuable post-study work experience, makes Ireland a very compelling option for the Indian students. With over 1,000 multinationals based in Ireland, the country offers exciting career opportunities for talented graduates.

The country also offers a buzzing, multicultural society where students will certainly find the highest of education standards and warmest of welcomes as Ireland is well known for being a safe and welcoming society.

James Cook University, Australia forays into Indian Market

James Cook University, Australia forays into Indian Market(L to R): Dr. Sandra Wallace, Academic Head, Accounting & Finance, Bachelor of Business Course Coordinator College of Business, Law and Governance , Vignesh Vijayaraghavan, Head of International Recruitment International Engagement , Assoc Prof Trina Myers, Head of Discipline of Information Technology college of Business, Law and Governance.


James Cook University Australia’s pioneering Universities offering distinctive and high-quality degrees that equip Students to understand and engage with the Global issues of today, providing Graduates with the skills to embark on rewarding careers.

Prof. Paul Dirks, Associate Dean, Research – College of Science & Engineering (CSE), James Cook University said, “JCU is a leader in Teaching and Research that addresses the critical challenges facing the Tropics. JCU is a community where Students get personalised attention through a lower student to staff ratio, and an authentic Australian Learning Environment.”


Vignesh Vijayaraghavan, Head of International Recruitment said, “Our Students come from many backgrounds, promoting a rich cultural and experiential diversity on campus. Considering our first visit to India, our NEW courses shall open gateway of opportunities for the students as well as assist them to grow in the field of Science and Engineering.


Also we are very happy to announce, Most Innovative International Scholarship in Australia – James Cook University’s new, innovative International Student Merit Stipends (ISMS) Scholarship Program provides recipients with a secure income of A$700 every month throughout their degree.”

James Cook University, Australia Forays into Indian Market also introduced a NEW Program


World’s leading Institutions focusing on the tropics Australia’s James Cook University (JCU) ranked in the top 2 % of the World’s Tertiary Institutions by the respected Academic Ranking of World Universities.

James Cook University (JCU) has been one of Australia’s pioneering Universities offering distinctive and high-quality degrees that equip Students to understand and engage with the Global issues of today, providing Graduates with the skills to embark on rewarding careers.

Professor Mohan Jacob, Associate Dean, Research Education, Professor College of Science and Engineering said, “JCU is a leader in Teaching and Research that addresses the critical challenges facing the Tropics. JCU is a community where Students get personalised attention through a lower student to staff ratio, and an authentic Australian Learning Environment.”


Vignesh Vijayaraghavan, Head of International Recruitment said, “JCU is a very unique University set out in Northern Queensland. More than being a University, we are proud to be a Community that has Students from different nationalities supporting each other to give a culturally authentic Australian experience. With a record on employability and planned NEW Courses tailor made for the Merit Holders, we are excited to be Opening Gateway of Opportunities for Students particularly in the field of Science and Engineering.”


James Cook University, Australia has introduced a NEW Program Masters of Engineering, Masters of Global Development and Diploma of Engineering

Quote on arbitrary fee hikes by private schools by Amol Arora, VC & MD, SHEMROCK & SHEMFORD Group of Schools

“I think regulation on arbitrary fee hikes is a positive step by the central Government, as more than the normal raise i.e. 8-10% in the fee, any additional increase isn’t justified, until and unless there is a new programme or technology is incorporated by the school, as technologies like virtual reality involves cost. Since, the school has to give raise to the teachers on annual basis, it is important to increase the school fee by 8-10% but any additional hike should be properly communicated to the parents, so that they know why are they paying extra. We welcome this step by the government as this will help to have more transparency with the parents with respect to the services given and fee charged. However, scope of fee increased should be given when a new pay commission is implemented by the school as it results in a large fund outflow.” said Amol Arora, Vice President, Early Childhood Association; and Vice Chairman & Managing Director, SHEMROCK & SHEMFORD Group of Schools

World Environment Day: Lack of access to finance key hurdle in municipal solid waste mgmt., says study

The Government must set up a financial mechanism for municipal solid waste management (MSWM) which makes an agency responsible, will ensure that the system works with the necessary revenue collection that it was deemed to make, suggested an ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study.
“Finance is a major issue in solid waste management sector. Implementing agencies and ULBs (urban local bodies) in particular, find it difficult to create and manage projects with limited finance,” noted a 2017 ASSOCHAM-PwC joint report titled, ‘Waste Management in India-Shifting Gears.’
It further said that infrastructure created is not properly utilised and the return on investment is often neglected leading to failure of the entire effort.
It was also highlighted that private sector which is held up as more efficient in terms of MSWM is facing issues in terms of access to market based/debt finance for projects.
“While the private sector has been involved in waste management services on a regular basis, the sector has seen a number of issues and bottlenecks which have made it challenging to successfully implement projects,” said the report.
It added that lukewarm response of banks and financial institutions is a major issue seen in MSWM.
The ASSOCHAM-PwC study sought ‘industry’ status for waste management sector to provide it necessary boost and regulatory adherence with dedicated monitoring and compliance cell.
Considering the direct and indirect implications of poorly managed waste to urban environment and India’s economy and growth prospects, the study impressed upon the need for relooking into the present systems of waste management in the country.
It also noted that mismatch between requirement and availability of waste management services together with improper planning, constraints in capacity to manage waste using modern techniques and best practices, complex institutional setup, and limited funds with urban local bodies (ULBs) have collectively led Indian cities and towns to crumble under piles of garbage left in the open.
Welcoming the changes made in the Plastic Waste Management Rules, the study said that ‘real implementation is yet to happen.’
“A full-scale preparatory exercise needs to happen for its implementation before we can take on this mammoth issue called ‘plastic pollution,’” it recommended.
It further said that the wave of cleanliness drives had brought some change in Indian mindset about waste management in over past two years. “The momentum should be utilised for benefit of the sector and implementation of rules and regulations should now be started on a serious note.”