Coinciding with the visit of Frech President Emmanuel Macron, French aerospace and defence giant Thales signed a memorandum of understanding with and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) on Saturday to create a jointly supervised PhD fellowship programme in coordination with Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
Thales already has similar agreements for jointly supervised PhDs with Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi.
Speaking at the ceremony, Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, vice president and country director, Thales in India said, ''As a global technology leader, we are always excited about investing in the future through varied initiatives focused on research and engineering. Given this focus, IIT Madras is a natural partner and we are very proud of this association. We believe it will serve our common objective of fostering a strong Indo-French research ecosystem and also support the Skill India initiative of the Indian government.''
The students selected for the jointly supervised PhD fellowships will have an Indian supervisor and a French co-supervisor (from one of the identified CNRS laboratories). Selected students from IIT Madras will have the opportunity to conduct a part of their research projects in France in areas like electromagnetism and antennas simulation and modelling, airborne complex system engineering, artificial Intelligence and data management systems, and advanced electronics systems and nanotechnologies.
Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras, said, ''We greatly value this partnership with Thales as our students will benefit from access to world class research environments and guidance from highly capable academics and researchers. It is these partnerships which not only help develop technologies for tomorrow but also bring industry and academia closer. IIT Madras has earlier entered into joint Ph.D. degree agreements with University of Bordeaux and École Centrale de Nantes in France. This partnership with Thales will facilitate these collaborative research programs.''
Dr. Srinivas Kaveri, Director, CNRS in India, said, ''Partnerships like these help strengthen Indo-French relations, promote cultural diversity and enable sharing of ideas between Indian and French researchers. This unique programme will bring together shared minds to foster innovations and technologies for tomorrow.''
Partnering with top universities worldwide is an important aspect of innovation for Thales which created joint projects with over 50 prestigious universities and research laboratories worldwide. Journal 'Nature' ranks Thales among the 100 leading companies for high-quality science worldwide. The Group also ranks among the world's 100 most innovative companies by Clarivate Analytics.