Multiscale Brain Function India-Italy Network of Excellence with six universities launched as part of the executive program of cooperation (EPOC) 2022-24

Mumbai : To establish a strong connection through conferences, and student exchanges along with other collaborations between India and Italy, a virtual launch of the Executive Program for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between Italy and India for the years 2022-2024 was organized by the Embassy of Italy in India. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham became an Indo-Italy network of excellence, and coordinator of “Multiscale Brain Function India-Italy Network of Excellence (MSBFIINE)” alongside the University of Milan and with the partner’s University of Pavia, University of Modena, and Reggio Emilia in Italy and Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT- M) and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad in India (IIT-H). The Indian coordinator of this MSBFIINE network of excellence is Dr. Shyam Diwakar, Director, Amrita Mind-Brain Center.


The principal investigators of the project are professors, Shyam Diwakar (Amrita), Giovanni Naldi (Milan), Srinivasa Chakravarthy (IIT Madras), Egidio D’Angelo (Pavia), Mohan Raghavan (IIT Hyderabad) and Jonathan Mapelli (Modena and Emilia Romagna).


Welcoming remarks were by H.E. Vincenzo de Luca, Ambassador of Italy to India. The keynote lectures were by Government representatives of the executive program, Dr. S K Varshney, Department of Science and Technology, and Minister Plen. Cecilia Piccioni, Directorate-General for Country Promotion, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy. The MSBFIINE address was by Amrita professor, Dr. Shyam Diwakar along with his counterpart, Prof. Giovanni Naldi of Milan.

Representing the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, Dr. S K Varshney, Head, International Cooperation said “I would like to stress that we have taken a strong consideration of joint center for excellence for restoration and assessment of the environmental impact on cultural heritage monument. And we would like to have another bilateral center of excellence on multiscale brain function. Bilateral science technology innovation and cooperation between the two countries is an attempt which will stimulate innovative R&D projects that address specific societal challenges using complementary expertise of the two countries and aim to deliver benefits.”


The Indian coordinator of the Indo-Italy network of excellence Dr. Shyam Diwakar of Amrita University highlighted the goals and focus of the Multiscale Brain Function India-Italy Network of Excellence. He said, “We are 6 universities (as part of the joint center) and are covering a lot of nice topics. Primarily we will be looking at brain and behavior, modeling, and investigation of brain function. We will be translating the modeling into applications into robotics.” He further added through this project they aim to establish a connection more through conferences, student exchanges among labs, and to scale this (network) among other collaborators within India and Italy.

Prof. Giovanni Naldi of the University of Milan, Italian Coordinator, MSBFIINE, expressed his excitement towards the project and said, “This collaboration between Amrita and Milan had started off as research, however, a part of this has even become a partnering member with the Human Brain Project, a billion-euro brain project funded by the European Commission”

Minister Plen. Cecilia Piccioni, Directorate-General for Country Promotion, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Italy emphasized on the significance of having a strong alley through technology and said, “This event is very important for both India and Italy but also great opportunity to connect with true friends.”

Furthermore, the Ambassador of Italy to India, H.E. Vincenzo de Luca highlighted the transformative role of technological interventions and highlighted the evolution of Industry 4.0. He expressed his gratitude and said, “We are proud of introducing the network of excellence and this is important for facilitating not only the matchmaking of the research centers but also new projects, new ideas that we can develop, promote and support”.