Six leading Indian Institutes, including IIT Madras, establish joint Doctoral Training Group on Bio Big Data Science


Chennai: Six leading Indian Institutes of Higher Education are collaborating to establish up the first Joint Indian-German Research Training Group (RTG) on Bio Big Data Science to promote the use of big data methods in biological applications. The program aims towards educating the next generation of first class young researchers in this vibrant field of science.

The Institutes include IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras, University of Allahabad, University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University. They are partnering with Heidelberg University, Germany, and Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India.

Speaking about this collaboration, Dr. Michael J. Winckler, Program Coordinator, Heidelberg University, said, “We hope to foster new and long lasting research collaborations with leading Indian institutions. The topics of this research training group are highly relevant for developing the biotechnology industry in both countries”.

The Research Training Group will set up as many as 50 Ph.D. projects, which will be supervised by Research tandems consisting of leading Indian and German scientists. The first funding of the program will be between 2019 and 2025 with an investment of € 3 Million from each of the two organizing partners (Heidelberg University and DBT).

Speaking about the expertise of IIT Madras in this field, Dr. Karthik Raman, Associate Professor and Co-ordinator, Initiative for Biological Systems Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “Given the rich expertise in data science at the Initiative for Biological Systems Engineering (IBSE) and Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBCDSAI) at IIT Madras, this initiative will be catalytic in developing strong collaborations with the University of Heidelberg in frontier areas of biological data analysis, and to train future leaders in these emerging areas.”

The program organizes its first Summer School at Allahabad University, Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, from 1st to 5th April 2019. Participating scientists will gather to train postgraduate students on topics ranging from bio-molecular modelling to visualization of large data frames. During this event, the partners will sign the bilateral MoUs, which will officially mark the beginning of the cooperation.

Prof. Dieter W. Heermann, Vice Rector International Affairs, Heidelberg University, said, “Heidelberg University has a long tradition of academic cooperation with India. This program opens up new perspectives, specifically in mathematics and natural sciences.”

Parallel to the summer school a networking workshop will be held to foster the formation of research tandems and the definition of new research projects.