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PRESS RELEASE: First Round of Awards of Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Announced

Washington, DC
June 12, 2012

First Round of Awards of  Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Announced

In a milestone in the educational partnership between India and the United States, a joint working group of India and USA selected eight (8) institutional partnership projects mentioned below for the first Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative awards.  The initiative aims to strengthen collaboration and build partnerships between American and Indian institutions of higher education.  Each project will receive an award of approximately $250,000 that can be utilized over the three year grant period, with the aim of encouraging mutual understanding, educational reform, and economic growth, as well as the development of junior faculty at Indian and American institutions of higher learning.

Indian-led partnerships:

1. Mahatma Gandhi University
Project Title: An Interdisciplinary and Community Oriented Approach toward Sustainable Development
Partner Institutions: Brown University, Duke University and Plymouth State University
2. Banaras Hindu University
Project Title: Paradigm Shift in Energy Scenario for the 21st Century toward Renewable Energy Sources required for both India and the U.S.
Partner Institution: University of Pittsburgh
3. Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Project Title: International Program for Sustainable Infrastructure Development
Partner Institution: Virginia Tech University
4. Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
Project Title: Resource Building for Ecosystem and Human Health Risk Assessment with Special reference to Microbial Contamination
Partner Institution: Drexel University

U.S.-led partnerships:

5. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Project Title: Capitalizing on the Demographic Dividend: Enhancing Talent Development Capacity for India and the U.S. in the 21st Century
Partner Institution: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
6. University of Montana
Project Title: Impacts of Climate Change and Changes in Socio-Economic Structure on Traditional Agriculture and the Development of Sustainable Communities among Indigenous Populations
Partner Institution: Bangalore University
7. Cornell University
Project Title: Implementing Reformed Curriculum in Emerging areas of Agriculture and Food Security in Two State Agricultural Universities of India
Partner Institutions: University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Meerut
8. University of Michigan
Project Title: The Joint Development of a Master’s Degree in Education for Health Professions Faculty in the United States and India
Partner Institution: Maharashtra University of the Health Sciences

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama had announced the Obama-Singh Initiative in November 2009 as an affirmation of their commitment to building an enhanced India-U.S. partnership in education.  Each government pledged $5 million for this endeavor, for a total of $10 million.

To implement this initiative, the Governments of India and the United States established a bi-national Obama-Singh Initiative joint working group (JWG).  The JWG provides the final approval for all grants awarded through the Obama-Singh Initiative.  The JWG will allocate the $10 million over the course of a five year period awarding 8 – 10 university partnership grants annually.  Grants to universities will be approximately $250,000 for activities to take place over a maximum of 36 months.  

The first Obama-Singh Initiative grant competition elicited great interest; many meritorious proposals were received from a wide range of institutions.  The first RFP was announced in July 2011, with a November 2011 deadline.

The U.S. Government entered into an agreement with the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) to post the RFP announcement for U.S. institutions of higher education and administer grants to lead U.S. institutions whose university partnership programs are selected by the JWG.  India’s University Grants Commission posted the RFP announcement for lead Indian institutions and will draw on the Government of India’s $5 million commitment to administer grants to the Indian institutions whose proposals are selected by the JWG.  

This year, the thematic areas stipulated for proposal consideration included: Agricultural Sciences and Food Security; Energy; Sustainable Development; Climate Change; Environmental Studies; Education and Educational Reform; Public Health; Community Development and Innovation.  

The next request for proposals for the Obama-Singh Initiative grants will be announced in July 2012.  Details will be available at www.usief.org.in/OSI and www.ugc.ac.in/more/obamasingh.pdf