Building strategic links in education Bric by Bric
Increased student exchange and research collaboration is paving the way for stronger ties with India, Brazil and Russia
Irish educational institutions are signing an increasing number of memorandums of understanding (MOU) with the Bric countries, to allow for increased student exchange, and more importantly, increased international research collaboration.
While growing links between new economic Goliath China and the Irish government, academia and industry have already been well documented, less is known about activity in the high-growth markets of Brazil, Russia and India.
In all three economies, it is educational links which will lay the foundations for future export market success. Numerous Irish institutions already have ties with educational bodies in the Brics which have lead to cross collaboration at all higher education levels. Plus the increasing amount of commercially-driven research means that many educational links will organically become industrial ties.
“A lot of Irish universities and institutes of technology are recruiting their students from India to come over here to do their studies, both at third, fourth and research level,” explains Cathy Holohan, Enterprise Ireland export market adviser for India and the Association of South East Asian Nations. Educational links such as these frequently lead to business ties being forged later. This month there is another Government-led education mission to India.
“India is a recognised high growth market – like the other Brics – which are all experiencing high GDP growth so they warrant a lot of extra attention from Irish exporters,” she says.
“Sectors where opportunities for exporters already exist on the ground include the life sciences, telecommunications and renewable energies.” While there are already existing research and trade links between Ireland and India in these sectors, Holohan sees even more opportunity that could yet be tapped into.
“All of the largest pharmaceuticals companies in the world are based in India,” she says. The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials at NUI Galway has just agreed to collaborate with four Indian institutions.
“The number of smartphone users is growing exponentially in Indian cities,” adds Holohan. “Figures are showing that there are hundreds of thousands of new subscribers signing up every month.
“In terms of renewable energies, India is the third largest buyer of clean tech products in the world right now. Because of the huge urbanisation going on, as a matter of policy Indian authorities are prioritising clean air and water initiatives.”
India’s car ownership rates are also increasing and cities have dense traffic levels. “Transport is another growing area of development and Irish companies are involved in providing solutions for fleet management, transport management, parking and tolling.”