Fausto Freschi
Società Indologica "Luigi Pio Tessitori"
Fausto Freschi

The three-year project "Europe and India: Past, Present and Future", co-financed by the European Commission in the framework of the "EU-India Economic Cross-Cultural Programme", aimed to establish a network for developing collaborative interaction, research and common activities both in Europe and in India in the areas of mechanical sciences, computer science and the environment. The project, which started in January 1999, was targeted at research workers in these fields, at experts in water management, water exploration and water protection, and at engineers working in industry. The specific objectives were: to bring together scientists, research workers and experts in Europe and India; to promote collaboration with experts belonging to institutions not involved in the project; and to prepare the ground for possible extension of the network.

The project consisted in the organisation of fifteen courses, the creation of multimedia products, and joint research into hydrology.

The courses, instituted by the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences and the B.M. Birla Science Centre, were held by 25 experts: 13 from Italy, 11 from India and 1 from Austria. The total number of participants was 286: 99 from Italy, 176 from India and 11 from Austria.

Multimedia support was overseen by the Società Indologica "Luigi Pio Tessitori". In three years, a complete series of videocassettes and CD-ROMs has been edited. The videos contain five lectures summarising the course contents while the CD-ROMs include examples, diagrams and a up-dated bibliography on the subject.

Joint research into hydrology has been carried out by the ÖFPZ Arsenal, in collaboration with Indian and Italian partners. The joint research programme started in May 2000 and ended in April 2001. It focused principally on the consequences of human activities in highly populated areas and on the quality and quantity of ground water/drinking water. The results, including recommendations for future actions, were presented in Hyderabad in July 2001 during the course entitled "The Pilot Project in Patancheru: A Case Study".

The main impacts of the project have been the following.
- Nicolò Bachschmid (Technical University of Milan) consultancy at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited in Hyderabad from 15 to 28 October 2000.
- MOU between the B.M. Birla Science Centre and the University of Udine to set up a course leading to a joint Master in information technology and to explore the possibility of PhD students in computer science and mathematics leading to a PhD from the University of Udine.
- MOU between the B.M. Birla Science Centre, the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences and the University of Padua for the exchange of scholars in the fields of geomechanics, material mechanics, fusion technology and related areas as well as the institution of joint research programmes and studies.
- Agreement between the University of Udine, the B.M. Birla Science Centre and the Società Indologica "Luigi Pio Tessitori" to initiate a relationship of scientific, technological and cultural co-operation in their respective areas of competence to guarantee a platform for the transfer of technology, also involving the exchange of experts between scientific institutions, manufacturing companies and commercial enterprises in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region and other similar bodies in India. Information and communication technologies, as well as other areas of emerging importance, constitute the initial subject matter of collaboration.
- Participation in the planned project on "Virtual Centre of Excellence Sustainability & Technology", promoted by the ÖFPZ Arsenal and the Austrian Research Centres Seibersdorf. The project aims to establish an Internet connection and platform of European institutes and organisations working and acting in the field of sustainable technologies. The University of Udine, the International Centre for Mechanical Sciences and the B.M. Birla Science Centre could all be involved in the design of the platform, the navigation system and all IT requirements.
- Four Indian students were included in the list of candidates selected for the information technology PhD course at the University of Udine. The preliminary evaluation took place in Hyderabad during the course "Models and Metamodels for Software Verification and Validation" held by Furio Honsell (University of Udine) and M. Radhakrishna (B.M. Birla Science Centre) in August 2001.
- Project on "ICT for Cross-Cultural Dissemination: Preservation and Innovation" has been submitted by the University of Udine and the B.M. Birla Science Centre in the framework of the Bilateral Agreement Italy-India 2002-2004.
- Project for a joint Master in information technology submitted by the University of Udine to the Italian Ministry of University. The B.M. Birla Science Centre is the Indian partner in the project. The project is co-ordinated by Simone Martini of the University of Udine.
- Opening of an office of the Società Indologica "Luigi Pio Tessitori" at the University of Udine to promote activities concerning future co-operation projects between Europe and India.