Boston College and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) have signed a memorandum of understanding, a first step in exploring a strategic partnership between the two institutions that could enhance research and evaluation, project development and implementation, coursework and field education, and knowledge sharing and dissemination.

Gautam Yadama
BC School of Social Work Dean Gautam Yadama (Chris Soldt)

The agreement presents an opportunity for BC and IITB to collaborate on providing clean renewable energy to improve the health, socioeconomic, and environmental outcomes in low resource areas of rural India.

Founded in 1958, the IITB is considered one of the top technical universities in the world and a leader in the field of engineering education and research.

“The multiplier effect of a BC partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay is significant,” said BC School of Social Work Dean Gautam Yadama, who led the outreach efforts with IITB.

”BC School of Social Work is already collaborating with the IITB to examine the impact of deploying seven million solar lamps to rural households in India. With the IITB team, we have developed a systems analysis of what it takes to localize the production, distribution, and maintenance of solar technologies for the poor. Our partnership with IITB offers a powerful illustration of how universities can collaborate to liberate the productive capacities of poor households and communities.”

Tom Chiles
DeLuca Professor of Biology and Vice Provost for Research Thomas Chiles (Suzanne Camarata)

Added DeLuca Professor of Biology Thomas Chiles, who also serves as vice provost for research and academic planning,
“Energy poverty represents a complex problem that requires multidisciplinary teams to identify solutions that can then be rapidly implemented on a timeframe of months instead of decades.  

“Faculty from across BC in a variety of disciplines will work collaboratively with IITB to identify solutions to the problem of energy poverty in India. The research partnership will also provide experiential learning opportunities for both IITB and BC students to work in the field not only assisting faculty in identifying solutions but also testing solutions ‘in-country.’

The experience will provide students with the skills necessary to design potential solutions and to implement and iterate solutions in a human-centered and community-based design context.”

Yadama and Chiles noted that the transdisciplinary approach to provide solutions is potentially scalable to other resource-poor regions of the world.

“Simply stated,” concluded Chiles, “this memorandum of understanding embodies the type of research that Boston College envisions and seeks to foster in the future with the new Institute for Integrated Science and Society.”

—Kathleen Sullivan | University Communications