"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. One of the metrics of success would also be that its faculty members and alumni have won at least three global awards such as the Nobel Prize and Turing Award.
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, starting 2018, an exceptional group of over twenty leaders in academia, business, and start-ups came together to build this university (see our 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, a private nonprofit university, 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, and formed a Campaign Committee to raise the required funding.
We are poised to launch UFI, AI-led multidisciplinary research university in India, in 2021-2022. After over two years of planning and engaging with stakeholders, we have:
Built an exceptional team,
Developed an actionable plan,
Received support of industry executives and at the central and state government levels,
Shortlisted Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune as top location choices for the university, and
Established a growing network of AI experts in academia and industry who are ready to join or partner with the university.
Now, we are seeking at least $70 million in philanthropic funding to launch the university and build the Global Institute for AI. The AI-enabled Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. And, actions taken now will determine the winners and losers in the post-COVID-19 world. Time is of the essence!
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