A couple of months ago, I agreed to join a delegation to India from York's Faculty of Science and Engineering. The idea is to make contact with Indian researchers, sign memoranda of understanding (MOUs) (e.g., covering graduate students and visiting faculty), and possibly to explore joint research projects through bilateral partnership programs.
We're going next week. My schedule includes a day of meetings at the Bose Institute and University of Calcutta on the 24th; then off to Mumbai for meetings at TIFR on the 25th and IIT Bombay on the 26th, then off to Delhi that evening; a day off on the 27th (the plan is to visit the Taj Mahal); and then a workshop in Delhi from the 28th to the 2nd, with side visits to IIT Delhi and JNU. It'll be my first trip to India.
The trip is partially funded by a government agency. On the one hand, this is great: research is increasingly an international activity, but research funding remains annoyingly nationalistic. In the absence of partnership programs like this one, it is almost impossible to construct international collaborative research teams, and breaking down those walls is a good thing. On the other hand, it's surprising how eagerly universities are jumping at this money: we've been told this is "delegation season" in Inda; we're arriving shortly after another Canadian delegation, and we're being told which other universities have signed MOUs, hoping not to miss out on our chance. You could argue this is symptomatic of general research underfunding in Canada; one wonders what Ghoussoub would have to say about it.
The blog is on hiatus for a bit, but I'll post about the trip when I get back.