Deputy Principal joins India mission to promote Scottish higher education

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University of Stirling’s Deputy Principal for Internationalisation and Graduate Studies, Professor Leigh Sparks, has joined a delegation of senior leaders from Scotland’s higher education sector on an official visit to India.

Led by Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP, the visit takes place between 2 and 5 December 2017. The delegation will join the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International and the British Council as they meet with key Indian government officials, education policymakers and business leaders. They will share the message that ‘Scotland’s universities welcome India’ and highlight opportunities for partnership and collaboration between India and Scottish Higher Education Institutions.

Professor Leigh Sparks, Deputy Principal for Internationalisation with John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister.

Professor Leigh Sparks, Deputy Principal for Internationalisation with John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister.

More than 120 nationalities are represented at Stirling, with the University currently home to 69 students from India. Nearly 350 former students in India make part of Stirling’s 82,000-strong global alumni family. The University’s relationship with India will be strengthened further next year, thanks to the recent launch of series of a £2,000 scholarships for Indian postgraduate students.

Indian graduates were among those celebrating when they received their degrees from Stirling this year. Anita George excelled to such a degree while studying for her MSc in Data Science for Business that she scooped a top industry award and job thanks to quality of her work during a placement. She now works full time for NHS National Services Scotland as a data analyst.

The visit is also being used to highlight more than 70 collaborations between Scottish Higher Education Institutions and India, including student exchange programmes, research partnerships and joint-courses.

One such research partnership led by Stirling’s Professor Linda Bauld, Director of the University’s Institute for Social Marketing, is a £3.4m effort to tackle tobacco-related harm in Asia and Africa. Working with researchers in Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and the Public Health Foundation of India, along with six other countries, the study aims to help local and national organisations in driving down tobacco use in India following significant recent declines in Scotland.


Speaking ahead of the visit, Professor Leigh Sparks, Deputy Principal for Internationalisation and Graduate Studies, said: “As a global university, Stirling has a strong, 50-year track record of establishing mutually beneficial, innovative and productive partnerships with organisations across the world. Our existing research collaborations demonstrate how experts at Stirling can work constructively with specialists in Indian institutions to challenge ideas, change policy, and save lives.  

“This visit is an ideal opportunity to explore further avenues for collaboration between the University of Stirling and partners in India, working together to address global challenges. It will also allow the University to celebrate the enormous contribution that Indian students make to Stirling while highlighting excellent learning opportunities for future Indian students in the heart of Scotland.”

Background information

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