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Insights 2017

Rajesh K. Tyagi & Kant Bhargava:

Interface between business & higher education


In the digital age, the interface between higher education & research with the business world is critical as higher education institutions need to be mindful of the requirements of the changing business world environment.

There is a growing demand for talent in the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science and business analysis field. Higher education institutions are trying to create and offer new programs in these areas. Engineering Institutes, Schools of Business and Economics are at the forefront to provide executive education, continuing education and professional training programs to meet the market needs.

In what follows, we will be examining: A. The importance of Interface between business world and higher education & research. B. Role of Canada-India partnership at various levels of Government and Institutions. C. Sector-specific opportunities and synergies for collaboration.   

Stakeholders that promote interface between business and higher education and research

In the Canada-India corridor, numerous organizations such as Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute (SICI) Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC), Canada-India Foundation (C-I F) Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC), Asia Pacific Foundation Canada (APFC), TIE-The Indus Entrepreneur (Global entrepreneurs of network) are playing pro-active roles in connecting the higher education and research stakeholders with the businesses. Government funded research programs at Provincial and Federal levels also help forge partnership between these two countries. Mitacs programs recruit university students from emerging countries, India included, to provide internship and project opportunities with Canada-based companies.

Emerging Areas

Following are some emerging areas where interface between higher education and research and businesses can play an important role in fostering understanding of the problems in these areas and search for their solutions:

A. Security: Information security. As information becomes abundant, its security becomes critically important. Biometric technologies based Identification (such as Aadhaar card in India), authentication, e-signatures, and other similar technologies will change the landscape of business world.

B. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning, data science. In this field, there are opportunities galore for the private sector to work with research community and government to develop made-in-Canada success story. The investment of 125 million dollars in AI announced in Budget 2017 in a pan-Canadian strategy to help the country leverage its existing strength in AI. It opens new opportunities for the private sector to work with the research community and government to further build on Canadian successes.

C. Aerospace sector: Aerospace sector in India is going through a growth phase and Canada based education, research and companies could help in this growth.

D. Smart cities: Within Smart cities project of India, opportunities exist in the area of Urbanisation, Water management, Energy management and renewable energy technologies.

E. Climate control and clean energy: In view of gaps due to retreat of the US Govt. from international climate diplomacy, clean-energy innovation and free trade, Canada should use the opportunity to fill the gaps by promoting in these sectors interface between business and higher education & research.

F. FinTech: Recent demonetization policy of India, combined with changes in technology sector, provide opportunities for innovation in the field of Financial technology (FinTech) in India-Canada context. As mobile technology becomes the gateway to various services, service providers are using this gateway to provide services to the clients.

G. Affordable healthcare: Innovation is required in tackling problems related to the Bottom of Pyramid and serving the need of that market in areas of financial inclusion, and access to affordable quality healthcare, automated people care, robotic assisted care, and remote monitoring that provide economically viable support for the sick and elderly so people can stay at home for longer period. 

H. Food security.


Considering the realignment of funding from Government-led Institutions, and the world class education provided by Canadian Institutions, abundant talent in India, numerous initiatives related to Digital India, Smart Cities, long term ties between Canada-India, numerous collaboration opportunities exists for to further this agenda. A few concrete suggestions are mentioned here:

  1. Creation of Sector specific joint task force of experts from both countries to identify and leverage such opportunities.
  2. Preparing of an exhaustive list of Small to mid-size enterprises based in India and Canada that are interested in doing business in Canada and in other global markets.
  3. Encouraging mobility of talents and collage and university students and providing internship opportunities for them.
  4. Proactively creating new programs for studies & research in higher Institutions for promoting business exchanges and obtain fast track approval of such programs.

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