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Australian and Indian universities collaborate for Asian Smart Cities Network

Photo Credit: La Trobe University

Australia’s La Trobe University is spearheading a major research initiative, along with two leading universities in India, valued at around AU$ 13.5 million to address the growing challenges of urbanisation.

According to a recent press release, La Trobe University, together with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT Kanpur) and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani), launched the Asian Smart Cities Research and Innovation Network (ASCRIN).

The Asian Smart Cities Research and Innovation Network

The aim of the large-scale initiative is to build a critical mass of resources, know-how and targeted research strength from the three universities.

Additionally, it will bring close engagement with industry and local government, to deliver impact for the sustainability, liveability and efficiency of cities across Asia.

The research network will include a La Trobe – IIT Kanpur Research Academy and a joint PhD and research framework with BITS Pilani.

Moreover, the network will be supported and guided by a network of “Industry Champions.”

The Industry Champions will be comprised of senior leaders from corporates, consulting houses, small and medium businesses and Government.

A plethora of key themes for research and industry collaboration was enumerated. These are:

  1. Infrastructure and technology
  2. Economic development
  3. Mobility and transport
  4. Health and well-being
  5. Education
  6. Urban planning
  7. Governance and engagement
  8. Security and safety
  9. Culture and heritage
  10. Energy, water and waste

Combining strengths and expertise

The Asian Smart Cities Research Hub draws upon La Trobe’s proven research and innovation strengths in Australia then adapting and applying them to Asian cities.

For over a decade, the Centre for Technology Infusion has been delivering field-ready, Smart City projects with Government and industry in multi-disciplinary areas.

These areas include transport safety and mobility, energy and infrastructure management, digital supply chains, and smart farming.

More than 70 academics from the three universities have already joined the research and innovation network, with the aim of creating new joint research professorships and a joint PhD program with more than 50 PhD scholarships offered.

IIT Kanpur, meanwhile, specialises in smart energy grids, which are the backbone of any Smart City.

The Institute not only conducts state-of-the-art research in this area, but have also put work into practice by implementing a smart energy grid in its very own campus.

BITS Pilani, on the other hand, had been collaborating with La Trobe in various Smart Cities themes. Taking this long-standing collaboration to the next level will introduce a joint doctoral program.

They are complementing and combining expertise to address existing and new challenges in Smart Cities.

This covers many areas like mobility and transport as well as sanitation and waste management, using disruptive technologies such as IoT, AI, Machine Learning, blockchain and real-time data analytics.

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