KU bags US-India 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award

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Srinagar: In a significant development, the University of Kashmir has bagged the prestigious U.S.-India 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award.

The University has figured at No. 1 (in Indian-led Partnerships) in the fifth and final round of the Award, aimed to further educational partnership between the U.S and India. Three other Indian institutions are Panjab University Chandigarh, Manglore University Karanatka and National Institute of Technology Karanataka.

The University of Kashmir has been awarded for the project titled “Proactive management models for the effects of climate change on the range of invasive species”, with Montana Tech, Butte, MT being its partner institution. Dr Manzoor A Shah, Senior Assistant Professor at KU’s Department of Botany is the Principal Investigator of the project.

The UGC had received some 40 proposals from Indian side which were reviewed by an expert committee and of these, only nine where recommended to the Indo-US Joint Expert Committee that finally approved four projects from the Indian side and four from the US.

The Indo-U.S. 21st Century Knowledge Initiative awards were formerly known as the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative. The initiative aims to strengthen collaboration and build partnerships between U.S. and Indian institutions of higher education. Each project will receive an award of up to $190,000 that can be utilized over a three-year period, with the aim of encouraging mutual understanding, educational reform, and economic growth, as well as the development of junior faculty at U.S. and Indian and institutions of higher learning.

The University of Kashmir is figuring alongside US-led Partnerships that include Clarkson University, NY; University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Gannon University, PA and University of South Florida, FL.

KU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Khurshid Iqbal Andrabi said the University is increasingly staking claim as vibrant an institution as other world universities are. He congratulated Dr. Manzoor A Shah, who is also Chief Coordinator DIQA, for the outstanding achievement.

The project aims to develop predictive models for management of invasive species that have taken over the Kashmir Himalayan landscapes.

Pertinently, Dr Shah is already running two other international projects including an Indo-Canadian project on biomonitoring of water quality in Indian and Canadian lakes using biosensors and an Indo-German project on reconstruction of colonization history of invasive species using phylogeographic approaches. 

These bilateral projects promise to help a long way in building capacity for strong cooperative networks between participant institutions to combat some serious ecological challenges confronted by the Kashmir Himalayan region.

“These landmarks strengthen the University’s resolve to be a globally-recognized institution and also encourage the student and faculty exchange significantly,” Prof Andrabi said. (KNS)

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