media release

SFU accompanies Premier’s Mission to India

October 12, 2014

Marianne Meadahl, University Communications, 778.782.9017; 604.209.5770;

Read more about SFU's Indian engagement in President Petter's blog post.

Advancing partnerships, B.C’s. post-secondary profile in India are among SFU’s goals

Simon Fraser University President Andrew Petter will be among representatives of B.C.’s post-secondary education institutions joining the Premier’s Mission to India October 13-18.

President Petter, along with SFU’s new Vice President Research Joy Johnson and Faculty of Applied Sciences Dean Nimal Rajapakse will visit New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai as part of the mission’s post-secondary contingent. Joining with counterparts to promote B.C. post-secondary education, they will also have the opportunity to advance the University’s existing relationships with academia, industry and government.

”Over the past decade SFU has built strong connections with India and with B.C.’s South Asian community,” said Petter. “Guided by our India Advisory Council, our goal as Canada’s ‘Engaged University’ is to see our extensive educational and research relationships with India grow.”

Petter will be a featured speaker at a roundtable on education and innovation in Bangalore on Oct. 15. He will also participate in a discussion on B.C.’s education strategy in India in New Delhi on Oct. 13.

Johnson participated in an education roundtable in Chandigarh on Oct. 11 and will also speak at a BC-India health symposium on Oct. 14, where she will give a presentation on engineering professor Ash Parameswaran’s research. The SFU scientist has developed “lab-on-a-chip” (LOC) technology to test samples so appropriate antibiotics can be prescribed. He is now working with Indian collaborators to turn this into a diagnostic add-on for smart phones.

"I am thrilled to participate in this symposium and to share this great example of international research collaboration in action," says Johnson. "India identified a pressing need for a fast, cheap and easy mobile device to test and treat children with infantile diarrhea. By pooling their expertise, SFU and Indian researchers—including graduate and undergraduate students—are making progress toward saving lives in developing countries and addressing an issue of global concern, multi-drug resistance."

SFU has significant partnerships in India and, during this trip, Petter is expected to participate in signings that will further these relationships. Among them:

  • SFU has a partnership with Indian Oil Company (IOC). The collaboration was created to undertake research on hydrogen and fuel cell technology. SFU delegates will visit the company Oct. 14. In addition, SFU will accept two Indian nationals into a unique partnership PhD training program starting in January 2015.
  • SFU has joined with the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute and Ryerson University to develop an international digital technology incubator and associated accelerator program. The parties signed a Letter of Intent earlier this year and are expected to further the partnership during a visit by the Premier to the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai on Oct. 16.

A new visiting India scholars program at SFU will also be announced during the visit.

 “These are a few examples of how SFU is advancing its activities in India with university and industry partners,” said Petter. “We are excited to be developing new relationships as we build upon existing collaborations.”


  • Simon Fraser University is the first Canadian university to develop an integrated India Strategy and its India Advisory Council is the first of its kind in Canada.
  • Since 2006, the SFU-India Advisory Council—comprised mainly of members of British Columbia’s South Asian community—has supported a number of key initiatives, including an international cardiovascular conference, a South Asian cultural festival, and an annual Diwali Celebration.
  • Over the past decade, SFU has established numerous formal partnerships and initiatives with institutions in India, including MOUs related to health sciences, clean energy and business, and field schools in the arts and education. Since 2007, the university’s India Initiative has supported visits from more than 20 Indian scholars.
  • Currently six per cent of SFU’s international students are from India. Since 2007, over 120 students have participated in experiential learning opportunities such as co-op, field schools and research practicums, including 51 who have been supported in India through SFU’s BC-India Mobility Initiative.
  • SFU researchers are active in a number of India-based projects, including the development of a new treatment for bacteria-infected newborns and research projects addressing the critical state of cardiovascular health and childhood obesity. SFU also runs a popular field school exploring the contemporary culture of India in cooperation with Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi.

Highlights of previous India visits:

(Jan 2014)

  • Letter of Intent signed with Bombay Stock Exchange Institute/Ryerson University. Details:
  • MOU with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, one of India’s premier institutions of science and engineering, to foster research collaborations on clean energy projects and graduate student exchanges.
  • Statement of Intent signed with Indian Oil Company to collaborate on hydrogen and fuel cell technology research. Details:
  • Pres. Petter delivered lecture at the Society for Participatory Research.

(Nov 2011)

  • Signing of MOUs with IIT-Ropar and Baba Farid University for Health Sciences in Punjab
  • SFU’s membership in Infosys’s global internship program (its first two students undertook internships in 2013)
  • Meetings with senior administration at the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), which laid the foundation for an MOU signing between SFU and TERI University in 2012, along with faculty visits and student mobility opportunities.
  • Meeting with Jawaharlal Nehru University resulting in renewal of an MOU between JNU and SFU in 2012, and a furthering of the partnership.
  • Meeting with IIT-Bombay senior administration resulting in student mobility opportunities, visiting scholars, SFU’s participation in a clean-advanced energy materials conference and workshop in 2013.
  • The announcement of several initiatives to attract top students from India’s Delhi Public Schools, to study in Canada.

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement.  SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada's comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia's three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

<p><a href="/content/sfu/sfunews/comment_guidelines.html?keepThis=true&amp;TB_iframe=true&amp;height=700&amp;width=700" class="thickbox">Comment Guidelines</a><br>