G20 Education Working Group discussed Future of Work and Innovation

Amritsar: India’s G20 Presidency took center stage at Khalsa College, Amritsar, where IIT Ropar under the Ministry of Education hosted a seminar on ‘Strengthening Research and Promoting Innovation through Richer Collaboration.’ The event brought together delegates from the G20 Education Working Group to discuss the future of work and innovation, with a focus on building bridges across nations for equitable development.

Prof. Rajeev Ahuja, Director of IIT Ropar, welcomed the participants and highlighted India’s opportunity to establish itself as a global leader in research and innovation.

Sh. K. Sanjay Murthy, Secretary, of Higher Education attended the event and emphasized on the importance of collaboration in research for achieving Sustainable Development. Prof. Govind Rangarajan, Director, IISC shared enlightening thoughts on the interdependency of domains and interdisciplinary action for solving problems. He also highlighted India’s frugal innovations, which have the potential to solve problems of the developed world, and the need to acknowledge and use grassroots innovation.

Prof. Budaraju Srinivasa Murty, Director, IIT Hyderabad, stressed the need for synergy between government- academia-industry to find solutions to pressing world problems. He highlighted that the National Education Policy 2020 has brought in path-breaking reforms in education in India, and various programs are helping promote cross-institutional collaboration in the country such as the I-STEM portal, IIvenTive IIT-R&D fair, etc.

The first panel titled ‘Research in Emerging and Disruptive Technologies, Industry –4.0’ moderated by Prof. Anil Gupta and chaired by Prof. Rajeev Ahuja brought together panelists from Australia, France, India, and the UK who shared pertinent insights on the role of various stakeholders to promote research on the emerging innovations, their impact on education systems and society in general.

The second panel on ‘Research in Sustainable Development Goals’ chaired by Prof. Shalini Bharat with panelists representing China, Oman, South Africa, UAE, and UNICEF laid importance on enhancing the capacities of universities being the core of research

One of the panelists, Ms. Alison Dell, Assistant Secretary, Australian Government Department of Education, discussed the National Collaborative infrastructure scheme in her country and what her government has been doing to move towards applied research. She emphasized the importance of international collaboration in research and innovation, highlighting the successful partnerships between Australian and Indian institutions in the past. She expressed her hope that such collaborations would continue to thrive and contribute to the sustainable development of both nations.

The seminar focused on bridging the gap between government-academia-industry linkages for designing solutions for addressing global challenges. There is a need for bringing multidisciplinarity to education. The discussion reached a consensus that Research Collaboration is the need of the hour and countries/Institutions need to break silos to promote translational research for achieving sustainable development goals just as they did during the Covid-19 pandemic. There’s also a need to establish frameworks for sharing research data and outputs. G20 countries should also work towards establishing a common framework for the effective use of emerging and disruptive technologies to address global challenges.

The seminar concluded with an address from the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shri Bhagwant Mann. He welcomed the delegates and emphasized the importance of education and innovation. He invited the participants to try Punjabi food and experience the state’s rich culture. Shri Mann also expressed his gratitude to the Government of India for allowing Punjab to host the G20 2nd Education Working Group meeting.

The seminar was followed by lunch and cultural performances to enthrall the G20 delegates. There is also a multimedia exhibition being organized on the sidelines featuring participation from industry, academia, and start-up initiatives. It will be open to local institutions, students, academicians, and researchers on the 16th and 17th of March.