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Carnegie Mellon, Deakin plan bases in K'taka

February 01, 2008 09:59 IST

In a major boost to the growing information technology and biotechnology sectors in Karnataka, at least two foreign universities are planning to set up base in the state.

While the Carnegie Mellon University has already made some progress in this regard, Deakin University, a major Australian university is keen on establishing a campus in India, in Bangalore.

Sources say Carnegie Mellon's president Jared L Cohon, who was in Bangalore recently, held discussions with senior state officials in this regard. The university is planning to establish a skeleton presence in Bangalore to study the market condition before starting a full-fledged campus here. They want to help the IT sector in the country secure quality manpower.

However, what route they will follow to establish the campus is yet to be decided since the law does not allow any foreign university to establish a campus in India directly.

"They are thinking to set up a base here sometime in May and June this year. They then want to start in a small way by setting up an office, and then ramp up. During the discussion with state government officials, they said they will see the market first and then establish a campus," Karnataka State IT & BT Secretary M N Vidyashankar told Business Standard. If it materialises, this would be Carnegie Mellon's first venture outside the US.

Besides, Deakin University of Australia has also proposed to establish a base in Bangalore, as part of their Deakin India Research Initiatives. The university has proposed an investment of Australian $76 million ($68 million) in setting up the research institute in Bangalore through which it aims to churn out 400 PhDs in the biotech sector, in four years time.

The university has proposed to bear 50 per cent of the investment, while the government of India and Karnataka government will have to share the other half of the expenses between them.

According to Vidyashankar, the Karnataka government is aggressively pitching for the project. "They don't want land, but some funding support. Now we are in the final stage of decision-making. Hopefully, some announcement to this effect may be made during the visit of Indian Foreign Affairs Minister to Australia on February 9," he added.

With the aim of addressing the skill shortage in the IT & BT sector, Karnataka is aggressively pursuing strategies to generate quality manpower. The IT finishing school initiative started by the state has already started paying dividends.

According to sources in the state government, the first batch of 200 students passed out from the finishing school in Mysore, have been absorbed by the industry. The school run by Raman International Institute of Information Technology is planning to enroll 1,000 students in the next batch, set to start shortly.

Dale Carnegie recently announced an IT finishing school in Bangalore in partnership with Walchand PeopleFirst, a training institute in Karnataka. The institute, in Ramanagaram satellite town, entails an investment of Rs 70 crore. The school will enroll 1,800 students in the first batch.

Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in Chennai/Bangalore