Is IIT Bombay the best for CS

How Teaching Can Cross Country Boundaries Internship program with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

Universities are a place of exchange between students and researchers - within disciplines, but also across disciplines and national borders. This is lived in projects, courses and initiatives at the Technical University of Braunschweig. The current situation makes personal contact more difficult, but digital networking also creates new opportunities. One example of this is the internship program with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB in Mumbai): For ten years now, students from India have been coming regularly for research internships at the Institute of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the Carolo-Wilhelmina. Professor Sándor Fekete told us what advantages a cross-border exchange brings for everyone involved and how it is also possible in times of Corona.

The TU Braunschweig has been working closely with the IIT Bombay for several years. Photo credit: Marisol Glasserman / TU Braunschweig

The entrance exams at one of the more than twenty Institutes of Technology in India are particularly strict: of around 1.5 million applicants, only around 10,000 are admitted each year. The TU Braunschweig has been working closely with the IIT Bombay for several years; In addition to cooperation agreements, there has also been an agreement on joint doctoral supervision since 2019. The TU Braunschweig also enjoys an excellent reputation among Indian students: many of them have been coming to Braunschweig for research internships since 2010. They are among the best in their national year and apply for the research stay centrally through their university. They can choose from a wide range that includes universities as well as large corporations such as Google and Microsoft.

They are selected by the participating TU scientists. For the students, the stay at the Carolo-Wilhelmina offers several advantages: You gain international experience, can work on current research projects, contribute to relevant publications and network with other researchers.

In exchange: Students of a previous research internship together with Professor Fekete. This picture was taken before the corona pandemic. Photo credit: Sándor Fekete / TU Braunschweig

And the exchange also brings great benefits for the hosts: "You can work with extraordinary people on interesting topics, have fun and learn a lot yourself," says Professor Sándor Fekete from the Institute for Operating Systems and Computer Networks, who works together with Colleagues from computer science and information technology is a driving force behind the partnership. “To be successful, talent and hard work are important. But you also have to be given appropriate opportunities. As a young person, I received great support for my scientific career. I can now pass that on to others. "

International teaching in Corona times

Last summer, the Indian research interns could not come to Europe because of the travel restrictions caused by the corona pandemic. “That was of course a shame for everyone involved. But we looked to see which digital formats we could offer, ”reports Fekete. Not all offers could be translated into digital, for example working with certain devices, but digital communication also created new opportunities so that all students could successfully complete their internship.

This success and the reliability even in difficult times have become noticeable: 200 Indian students have applied for the digital research internship in Braunschweig for the coming spring, in "normal" times there are around 100 Travel, accommodation and laboratory space, so that the offer was increased and 14 students could be selected. The qualifications of the students are particularly noteworthy: three of them are in the top 5 in the entire country, all 14 are in the top 300.

Digital mentoring session with Aman Gour (research intern 2014, co-author, start-up founder) and the research interns 2020. Photo credits: Sándor Fekete / TU Braunschweig

Eight of them are taking the opportunity to take part in an English-language, digital master’s event and thus lay the foundations for future research at an early stage. At the same time, they can network with the participating students from Braunschweig and the USA in joint working groups.

Such networking possibilities are not limited to IT, says Sándor Fekete: “The developments in the past year have made it even more natural to use digital communication to overcome distances and national borders. If you are connected by video anyway, physical distance is not important for the exchange. This creates perspectives for a sustainable exchange beyond the pandemic, even if personal contact remains important, of course. "

This also applies to other subjects and countries: The International House at the TU Braunschweig offers numerous contacts and contacts for all faculties.

Anna Krings

Computer science, international