"Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come."
— Victor Hugo
Vision and goal: To build the University of the Future in India (UFI)—a multidisciplinary research university— that, by 2050, is ranked amongst the top 25 universities in the world and whose faculty members and alumni have won at least 3 Nobel Prizes.
Why build UFI: Great universities are multidisciplinary in nature and serve as engines for education, research, and innovation. They drive economic growth, solve the problems of humanity, and make life better for people.
As an example, Stanford University has over 2,100 award winning faculty members, including 19 Nobel laureates and 2 Field Medalists. Companies such as Google, Cisco, Yahoo, HP, Charles Schwab, eBay, Instagram, VMWare, and Tesla have Stanford roots. According to a 2012 study, since the 1930s Stanford entrepreneurs (faculty and alumni) have started 39,900 companies, which in turn have created 5.4 million jobs and generated US$2.7 trillion in revenues annually. This is the kind of “return” Stanford has delivered on its investment. The culture of excellence radiates outwards and impacts organizations, society and individual behavior, uplifting everyone.
India needs a hundred such universities. Currently it has none. And, just one Indian higher education institution—IISc Bangalore—is ranked in the Top 500 of global rankings. This gap must be addressed urgently.
With 1/6th of world's population in India, transforming India's higher education system with an institution such as UFI is a win-win for India and its people, the US, and the global humanity.
The energy and thought behind UFI: To address this challenge and opportunity, by April 2018, we assembled an exceptional team of 23 leaders to be UFI’s Global Advisory Board. They include faculty members, leaders in academia, research, and nonprofit institutions, entrepreneurs, and senior industry executives in India, Singapore, UAE, and the US. (Read the press release announcing the initiative.)
Status and plans: By November 2018 the Global Advisory Board developed UFI's master plan. UFI will begin by launching the Global Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI). Once it establishes its premier position in AI, UFI will expand its scope and scale to become the “Stanford of the East”.
In 2019, we initiated efforts to secure land and funding. We have met tens of potential anchor donors and influencers in India, Singapore, UAE, UK, and the US. We have also shortlisted Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune-Mumbai corridor as potential locations for UFI. In addition, we have visited several sites in each of these cities.
Building UFI will require at least $1 billion over the next ten years. To launch UFI and the Global Institute for AI our plan is to raise at least $150 million. We recently formed a Campaign Committee to raise these funds. Our goal is to secure land and raise $50 million to $150 million in funding commitments by June 2020. Thereafter, we will execute foundational actions to start UFI by 2021-22.
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