Deakin Uni opens bionanotechnology centre in India

By Staff Writers
Thursday, 02 December, 2010

Deakin University and The Energy and Resources Institute of India (TERI) have partnered to open a new bionanotechnology Research Centre in Delhi.

The centre was opened by Deakin University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, and the Director General of TERI Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri.

Among its key objective’s will be helping to resolve issues such as food security amid climate uncertainty, remediation of polluted environments, deriving health applications from novel molecules as well as improving the lives of people in poor communities.

The new centre will pool together the nanomaterials expertise from Deakin University's Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (ITRI) with the pharmacology, food agriculture, and environmental work of TERI's Biotechnology and Management of Bioresource Division (BMDB). It will also provide the hub for the Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI), launched last year, which plays host to some 50 PhD students working in various Indian industries or with other research partners under the supervision of leading Indian and Australian researchers.

Professor den Hollander noted that Alfred Deakin, Australia’s second prime minister, after whom the university is named, identified opportunities for Australia and India to work together some 120 years ago.

"It is pleasing for everyone at Deakin and ITRI to be involved in a partnership that not only fulfils his prophecies but which has mutual benefits for both nations," she said.

Professor Peter Hodgson, Director of ITRI and Australian Laureate, said that in addition to developing high tech products and applications, the new centre would also be the source of solutions to many of the problems affecting India’s poor as well as remote communities in Australia.

"For me this is the realisation of a personal goal to build a major research partnership in India that grows on Deakin's strong commitment to a long term, broad based engagement with India," Professor Hodgson said.

"It will deal with issues of food security in increasingly changing climates, remediation of polluted environments through natural products, improving health through novel molecules and improving the quality of life for poor communities.”

An emerging area with implications for a number of industries including healthcare and life sciences, nanotechnology involves the working of materials under one ten thousandth of a millimetre (100nm).

It is also hoped that the Deakin / TERI partnership will lead to further partnerships and collaborations between India and Australia.

Professor den Hollander added that the high profile and international standing of TERI chief Dr Pachauri would be a further source of strength for the new centre

Dr Pachauri came to prominence through his role of head of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC), and was a joint recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize along with former U.S vice president Al Gore.

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